When you get dumped, there are usually a few steps one goes through before they can get over being kicked to the curb.  Hell, most of these stages are the main reason why Facebook exists.  In any case, it is completely understandable why Dan Gilbert is struggling with losing LeBron.  And although five months have passed, he’s still not there yet.  The Five Stages of Getting Over Your Break-Up, applied to Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert:

Stage 1: Denial

I’ve been told by many female friends that they always know when a relationship is over before it actually ends.  Because they have this innate sense of the relationship end state, they emotionally prepare for the break-up while they are still dating that person.  Consequently, when the break-up actually happens, they walk away.  The guys, on the other hand, are in denial: “Sure I’ve gained 40 pounds and smoke two packs a day, but why would she ever leave me?  I’ll just go to the gym for a week and things will be fine.”

The writing was on the wall shortly after the Cavaliers were knocked out of last year’s playoffs.  Gilbert should have seen the signs then: LeBron knew the team as currently constructed wasn’t good enough to get him a title.  So, in an effort to make him happy, Gilbert hastily fired Mike Brown (despite 60-win seasons).  But when Gilbert forced GM Danny Ferry to resign in June, Gilbert was basically putting it all on the table: “I’ll do whatever you want — just don’t leave me!”  Gilbert couldn’t accept the fact he was losing the headbanded and tattooed love of his life: LeBron James.

Stage 2: Anger

This one shouldn’t be too hard to explain.  For most normal people, it’s a drunken scene at the bar or an angry late night voicemail that goes on for about three minutes.  Maybe it’s a de-friending on Facebook or telling anyone and everyone that will listen that you absolutely hate that person who so callously and hurtfully dumped you.

Remember that letter Dan wrote in July?  That about sums this phase up.

Stage 3: Desperation

You’ve got nothing left.  Your ex isn’t coming back; they’ve moved on.  Nothing has worked, so now you get desperate.  Anything for attention.  Or maybe you just want to ruin that person’s day by getting them at trouble at work or crashing their friend’s birthday party.

Here’s precisely where Gilbert sits right now.  Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to a law firm to dig-up dirt in the hopes that you can find anything that gets LeBron and his new mate back.  Textbook hail mary desperation pass.  Clearly, Dan hasn’t let it go:

As one league source told Yahoo! Sports: The Cavs are “determined to get everything out there. They’re not letting go of this. They’re not going to just let this die.”


Stage 4: Revenge

Classic Greek System move.  Girl gets dumped by a guy in a fraternity.  Girl, in turn, attempts to sleep with guy’s entire fraternity house in a vindictive move to make guy jealous.  Or, girl shows up to fraternity party the next week with a new boyfriend who just happens to be the sworn enemy of her ex.  By the way, this works for the opposite sex as well.

Dan, I know you're upset, but please stop yelling at me and put the cell phone down. Bron isn't gonna pickup.

Anyway, Dan Gilbert is eventually going to realize Mo Williams is an idiot (yeah, Mo, I’m sure you coming back this year had nothing to do with the $9.2M Cleveland owes you…) and he’s going to want to have that big-name star who sells jerseys and can make him feel like a big-shot NBA owner again.  Here’s where a wild Zach Randolph signing comes into play.  Gilbert knows Randolph isn’t a franchise building block; in fact, Randolph might not even be a starter in the league by 2013.  But Gilbert will want to throw money at someone (or in a trade), just to get that feeling of being loved again.

Stage 5: Acceptance

Eventually, you realize you just have to let it go.  They’re gone and they’re not coming back (well, until you meet someone else and stop talking to them, and then, without a doubt, they will start calling you again).  It’s time to move on.

Judging by his progress, I imagine Dan will get to this stage sometime next summer.  He’ll realize that maybe he needs to take some time to “work on some things” and step out of the spotlight for awhile.  However, if the Heat somehow get on a run and win a title, I think it’s safe to say we’re headed straight back to Stage 3 with Stacy.  ”Hey Dan, what am I going to do with a Yao Ming?”

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