And in comments made this week, Gilbert didn't do much to silence that narrative.
Speaking with The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto on everything from Koby Altman's hire to the team's 2017 trade of Kyrie Irving, the longtime Cavs owner was frank when asked to define life with LeBron, the NBA's biggest name.
"With LeBron, there was a limited shelf life in terms of his age and his contract commitment,'' Gilbert said. "It's a 'win now at all costs' ... It all revolves around the sun, which is him."
After a pause, Pluto said, Gilbert continued: "Whatever pressure comes with it, it worked out. We won a title."
The Cavaliers' best stretch in team history was fueled by James' return to Cleveland following his infamous move to Miami, complete with LeBron claiming NBA Finals MVP as part of the franchise's first championship. But just months before James' latest departure, this time to the Los Angeles Lakers, reports indicated that he and Gilbert . The Cavs' owner upon James signing with L.A., but he's perhaps more famous for his scathing letter to James after the superstar's first foray into free agency, back in 2010.
Both Gilbert and the Cavaliers handled James' latest departure more respectfully, the owner told Pluto.
"Unless someone has at least verbally committed, you had to assume that could happen," Gilbert said. "We were better prepared this time around."