To those people who are crowing over the Cleveland Cavaliers giving coach David Blatt the ax earlier today, I ask the following question: where the hell have you been?
Anyone who had been paying attention to the Cavs the last two seasons knew that Blatt’s firing was only a matter of when.
Blatt was new to the NBA, having coached overseas for several seasons. He didn’t have the experience of game planning on the NBA level. He was out-coached by the likes of Gregg Popovich, Rick Carlisle, Luke Walton, and Doc Rivers just to name a few. And to make matters worse, Blatt never coached a superstar such as LeBron James.
Before I continue, let me extol Blatt’s accomplishments. He had a winning record during his coaching tenure in the NBA (83-40 regular season record). His Cavs won the Central Division and was two games (and perhaps two major injuries) away from winning the NBA Finals. Oh yeah, Blatt led the Cavs to a 30-11 record THIS SEASON which was good enough to be the best in the Eastern Conference!
Yet with all those accomplishments, Blatt never seemed to have the respect of the players in the Cavs’ locker room.
LeBron never respected Blatt. He’d constantly questioned and overruled Blatt’s decisions. Remember the times LeBron would wave off substitutions Blatt would send in the game?
Hell, the players seemed to respect top assistant Tyrone Lue more than Blatt. That was why management signed Lue to a three-year contract on the heels of Blatt’s firing.
Now do I think that management panicked when the Cavs got their asses kicked by the Golden State Warriors on national television? Perhaps.
Do I think Blatt is a good coach who got a raw deal in Cleveland? Maybe.
I do know this – it sure smells like LeBron wanted the team to get Blatt the hell out of town.
And yeah, I know the Cavs’ general manager David Griffin maintains he consulted only with owner Dan Gilbert – not LeBron – before breaking off Blatt.
“I’m not somebody who believes we don’t talk to the family before we make changes. We do. And I’ve told you that. I talk to many players when we make decisions of magnitude that will change the locker room.
“This was one where I didn’t need to ask them because I’ve watched them interact with each other for a very long period of time under a lot of different circumstances. I know what something that’s not right looks like, and I believe this was the right decision to make. And it’s very possible that it’s the wrong decision to make. You may hear that from our players tomorrow. And I’m open-minded to that. They don’t have to like it. They have to respect that this is what we’re trying to do.”
I’m going to call bullshit on that one.
There is no way in the hell that a team makes a big move like this without consulting their players, let alone a superstar. LeBron is too important for the Cavs to do fire a very successful coach in Blatt.
And they gave Lue a new three-year contract, thus bypassing the “interim” stage? YOu think Cavs management did that without discussing that with LeBron? C’mon y’all.
It’s no secret that LeBron highly respects and loves Lue. As I said earlier, the team respects Lue more so than Blatt. Trust me when I say LeBron and the players are happy that Lue is now leading the troops.
As bad as I feel for Blatt, I’m not surprised he got his ass canned. He and LeBron were a bad match from the beginning.
Let’s hope that LeBron doesn’t pull another power play and back-stabs his boy Lue…