There isn’t much by way of spare time during an NBA preseason, especially with the start of the season looming in less than two weeks. But Cavaliers coach John Beilein took a day on Saturday to bring his team to visit owner Dan Gilbert, who has been recovering from a stroke he suffered in May.
“That was why we did not have a practice,” Beilein said Sunday from here at the TD Garden in Boston, where his team faced the Celtics. “We wanted to go see Dan, we wanted to spend time with him, we were able to walk-through at the gym in his house. But it was not a day to work on those things. It was to show great appreciation for Dan.”
Gilbert only recently returned home from an eight-week stay in a rehabilitation facility in Chicago, and the Cavaliers played in Detroit on Friday. It made sense to Beilein, then, to take the team on a visit to see Gilbert rather than traveling immediately on to Boston.
It was useful—the Cavaliers have five rookies on the preseason roster and five new veterans on hand, too. Several players had not yet met Gilbert.
“He talked with the whole team,” Beilein said. “He watched us go through a walkthrough, we watched video with him. We had a great lunch together. He got to meet everybody on the team, guys he did not know yet. It was really good for him.”
Dan Gilbert Had Been in Hospitals for More Than Four Months
Gilbert suffered the stroke on May 26, just 13 days after he hired Beilein as the team’s new coach, and was admitted to an intensive-care unit. He spent more than three weeks in Beaumont Hospital outside Detroit before beginning his rehab.
Not much has been heard from Gilbert during his rehab. In August, he appeared in a video addressed to employees of his mortgage company, Quicken Loans, and his other businesses. He’d lost weight and grown a beard, but he was upright and thanked employees for their messages.
“Thank you for all of your well wishes and all of the letters, notes, emails, voice mails, texts, whatever it is, I read every single one of them and I really appreciate it,” Gilbert said in the video. “It keeps me going.”
Beilein said Gilbert was in good spirits.
“Very good,” he said. “He really just seemed great, to us, with everything, his approach and satisfaction for the direction things are going now, I think, really stood out. He’s very much behind us as he is going through the adversity he is facing.”