Dan Gilbert said he and LeBron James have come a long way in the six years since the 2010 offseason.
James decided to signed with the Miami Heat in free agency and Gilbert responded with a scathing letter published on the Cleveland Cavaliers' website that was only removed in the hours before James returned to the franchise.
"I think everybody learns every day in the decisions they make and the things they do," Gilbert said. "It was just a whole different feeling from Day 1 [when James came back in 2014]. Keep in mind that we just had one bad night in five years that we were here with LeBron -- remember the first two [years James played in Cleveland], Gordon Gund ran and owned the team.
"But we never had a bad day until the way it ended. And as bad as it was, it was one day, it was one night and everybody is a grown man and obviously we focused on the job here. And sometimes things happen for a reason, right? You just never know it at the time."
Gilbert said he and James will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the direction of the Cavs' franchise.
"We go deep and talk about stuff and figure out where we need to go as a partnership," Gilbert said of his meetings with James, which often also include James' representative, Rich Paul, as well as Cavs minority owners Jeff Cohen and Nate Forbes. "It's really a partnership when you think about it."
James said the partnership extends to off-court projects as well.
"We both have two common goals in mind, and that's to continue to build this city, continue to put things up, create jobs and have a winning franchise," James said after shootaround Tuesday before the Cavs' season opener against the New York Knicks. "And for me as a player, make me impact not only in the community but on this team. And he's doing the same."
After paying $54 million in luxury taxes last season on top of a payroll that was already north of $100 million, Gilbert said his ownership is committed to spending big money to keep the Cavs in contention.
"Not even a thought," Gilbert said. "Let's picture this: A little cash in the bank or a championship ring -- what would you take? Not even close. I think it was my grandfather who told me that anybody that dies with money in the bank is a failure. Where are you going to take it? So you might as well invest it in the right things and try to positively impact the world as much as you can. So that's what we believe."
The Cavs' current roster will cost ownership about $130 million with an escalating repeater tax that could add another $100 million-plus to the total bill.