NBA Draft 2019: Cavs owner Dan Gilbert gives OK to be aggressive in his absence

Dan Gilbert wants his franchise to be aggressive in the NBA Draft at the end of this month, even in his absence. 

The Cavaliers owner suffered a stroke May 26 and remains hospitalized, but Cleveland’s front office intends to move forward with the offseason plan that Gilbert helped create before he was hospitalized.

According to, which cited unidentified sources, Gilbert “gave the front office the go-ahead to be aggressive” in making roster moves, even if it means taking on more salary. notes the Cavaliers’ payroll was around $123 million this past season, and the franchise has committed about $134 for the upcoming season, which is expected to be one of the highest in the league.

Gilbert also knows how Cleveland will approach making selections for its two first-round picks (No. 5 and No. 26) with the desire to purchase a second-rounder. 

Another area Cleveland’s front office will pick up involves trade talks around guard JR Smith, who made it known last November that he wants to be moved. In the past, Gilbert has given general manager Koby Altman and his staff “the freedom to go into the luxury tax by taking back a hefty contract.” The one caveat to that, though, is Gilbert wants it to come with at least one future asset. 

While speculation around Smith’s future has died down a bit since his trade request, the Cavaliers still have been fielding calls for Smith. 

It’s not clear how long it will take for Gilbert to make a full recovery. The company he founded, Quicken Loans, released a statement Wednesday, saying Gilbert’s recovery will “take time.” He underwent a catheter-based procedure and then was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

“Dan’s recovery is a process that will take time — but we are all confident that he will meet this challenge head on as he always does,” Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner wrote.

Since Gilbert took over in March 2005, the Cavaliers have made five NBA Finals appearance and won the 2016 title.

The 2019 NBA Draft will take place June 20 at the Barclays Center in New York.