Blatt fired, Lue promoted, James blamed?


VIDEO: Cavaliers fire David Blatt midway through second season

Cleveland head coach David Blatt – midway through his second season, seven months since taking the Cavaliers to the Finals and weeks away from likely coaching the Eastern Conference All-Stars – has been fired.

And LeBron James is going to have to answer for it.

That’s just the nature of James’ superstar status and clout within the Cleveland franchise. There’s a hierarchy in the organization that includes owner Dan Gilbert and general manager David Griffin, who will be front and center in explaining the decision to dump Blatt at this point in another winning season. James and fellow Cavs stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will field the questions, too.

But in the long term, James will be the one most charged with demonstrating whether this was the right move at the right time.

The news of Blatt’s termination was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Blatt, 56, exits with an 83-40 record and a 14-6 mark in last spring’s playoffs. Even with the Cavaliers’ elimination in six games from the 2015 Finals, the injury absences of both Love and Irving (after Game 1) made it unrealistic to expect Blatt, James or anyone else to beat the Golden State Warriors.

Blatt had been successful enough in Israel and Europe to become the first international coach hired directly as an NBA head coach. But he was hired before James made his free-agent decision in July 2014 to return to Cleveland after four seasons in Miami. Blatt, ostensibly, had been hired to build a team around promising young players such as Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson and others.

It also opened the door to speculation that Blatt never was the coach that James wanted, or trusted in his quest to bring an NBA championship to the market near and dear to the Akron (Ohio) native.

Tyronn Lue, the Cavs’ associate head coach, reportedly will take over immediately and be on the sidelines for Cleveland’s next game, a clash with the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET on ABC).

Blatt had been named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October/November after guiding the Cavs to a 13-4 start. Cleveland recently had gone 5-1 on a 12-day road trip, pushing its record to 28-10.

But a home blowout loss to Golden State Monday, 132-98, revealed a startling lack of preparation and focus by the Cavs. It exposed further difficulties in blending Love’s complete game with James’ and Irving’s talents. And it had James afterward saying, “We do understand we’ve got to get better. … We’ve got a long way to go.”

There was, naturally, no early confirmation of how much input James or any other players had in the decision. However, there certainly was speculation:

18 Comments

  1. chrispenson says:

    why they didnt hire coach tom tibo or scott brooks?

  2. Micheal says:

    More and more I have grown to dislike ale bron
    I think he’s damaged goods as a person. He talk good game about wining but. flunked kindergarten … He never learned to play with others. And I might go bit further and say I think he’s racist . Yeah I think he has big inferiority chip on his shoulder .
    Maybe early AAU childhood trip without family unless you brother you don’t get the ball unless you run with him nightclubs

    Well he got his boys … Lue good solid coach paid dues and clippers defense not good without him but he is LeBron ” boy”
    Jones !JR ,LJ boys … Almost if you not member of James hood you not getting ball unless King James says so..
    The best thing Love and Moltzoff iris demand to be traded ..James is racist .

  3. Hypothesis says:

    This was bound to happen regardless, but IDK if a mid season firing is wise for a team that has championship or bust expectations. This should have happened in the offseason.

  4. Guy says:

    How is Blatt responsible for James overriding his play calls using his own judgement or the fact that Lebron CANNOT create but demands the creation responsibility… not to mention, Blatt wasn’t the one that traded Wiggins for Love, terrible decision.

  5. Bill says:

    Fire lbj not coach, lbj don’t know how to win

  6. Bro says:

    What last year’s Finals showed is not that you need a big 3, but a well rounded TEAM. The Cavs stole two games because LeBron played to his full potential and the role players did their jobs. With Irving and Love in the lineup, I believe the Cavs would have been swept, and there probably would have been a couple of beat downs like Monday night. Jordan, Magic, and Bird on the same team would have never worked. While it has never been 1 vs 5, the great ones need to take over and everyone else play their role to perfection

  7. Mike says:

    If he is such a great coach let’s wait and see who hires him. I don’t believe anyone will. He had no offensive creativity and no defensive strategy. The Warriors ran the same high pick and roll 20 times and the Cavs neVer stopped it. Blatt will not be a head coach in the NBA again. Sorry

  8. Ted says:

    Blatt did as good a job as can be expected with his team. Lue will not be anymore successful. Lebron has just lost my support.

  9. TheNotSoRealLbj says:

    Firing coach Blatt won’t give the King a ring. They need to load the team with a bunch of stars for a bunch of scrubs and get some foul calls. We will trade the waterboy, some old washout dude to be named later, sign and trade future hall of famer Norris Cole and 2 future 2nd round picks to the Warriors and Spurs for Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
    Coach: James
    PG: Irving
    SG: Dellavedova
    SF: James
    PF: Love
    C: Mozgov
    Sixth man: Varejao
    Rest of the bench: Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge

  10. KB says:

    Its a lie when they said that James was not involved. James was humiliated by Curry during the recent game. Curry toyed with him like a high school player. How pathetic!! Now blame it on a coach…Get serious…….

  11. Diane Liston says:

    There is no way you or anyone can put this in LeBron’s lap. Blatt had absolutely no NBA experience and you cannot teach something you don’t have knowledge of. Love should be treading lightly . . . or step up to bat and play the way he was paid to do. He may be the next one to walk. He is not dependable!

    • TIMDIZM says:

      Until LeBron learns how to put his ego to the side and share the limelight It doesn’t matter who coaches him he will not win another ring He is a career killer First he destroyed Chris bosh who was a top 5 big man in Toronto now he is doing the same to Kevin Love another guy who was a top 5 big man in Minnesota…. Maybe the “King” needs to take a look in the mirror

    • Marvin says:

      And by no means should this be put on Blatt because Luke Walton isn’t a better coach. The Warriors and Spurs are just better TEAMS. They play together and don’t blame each other unlike the Cav’s. Blatt didn’t play against the Warriors. James-16 points, Love-3 points, Irvin-just a bad game. Blatt had nothing to do with they’re performance.

  12. Julia says:

    For sure one of the worst coaches to ever step in NBA courts.

    • A.J. says:

      He went like 84-40 that’s not even close to the worst ever. He will probably get another job soon

  13. Carlo says:

    Ridiculous. “James informed…” Ha! James and Lue were doing their best to fire Blatt since early last season.
    And now they blame Blatt for the kind of play is run by a team which follows NOT his style but James’s.
    Cavs have happily reverted to be the clowns of NBA.