While the Cleveland Cavaliers are waiting for their foes in the NBA Finals to present themselves, it seems more information, or gossip, about what transpired when David Blatt was fired during the season, promoting Tyronn Lue to the head coach position and the involvement of LeBron James in all of this, is coming out.
FoxSports and Cleveland.Com are reporting that Lue, Blatt’s assistant while the latter was the Cavs head coach, tried to persuade general manager David Griffin from firing Blatt. But when Griffin told him the decision has already been made, Lue accepted to take the team, saying he thinks he can handle it. The rest is known: The Cavaliers played well enough to finish first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, and going on to win 10 of 12 games in the playoffs, making it to a second consecutive NBA Finals.
So far, so good: Lue was known to be loyal to Blatt, even when it was rumored some players were pushing him to take control and be more assertive when it comes to decision making. Last year’s final and the team’s East-best record aside, the locker room, for whatever reason, wasn’t happy with Blatt, and that trickled (upward… yes, I know that sounds strange to the physicists out there) to the front office. Maybe it was just that loss to the Warriors that changed everything. And maybe it was all about LeBron James pushing Blatt out of the way.
The truth? It doesn’t matter. Like it or not, sometimes the players have the right of it. No one seemed to make too much of the Denver Nuggets firing Brian Shaw and the players almost celebrating it. Deron Williams, an All-Stat at some point but nothing too special in this league, got Jerry Sloan, a Salt Lake City legend, to resign. Stars get their way more often than not. It might not be “right”, but the NBA works differently than the standard we hold superstars to.
The only thing that matters is whether James and co. end up winning the NBA championship or not. No one is going to talk about a “What If” scenario regarding Blatt. Were the Cavaliers better off without him? I’m not sure, probably not. Do they seem happier now? Yes, but they always seem happy after beating up on everyone in the East. Things change once a better team comes along and makes you sweat. That’s probably what the next two weeks will be about for Cleveland, even with a happy ending after four to seven games.
Blatt? He’s not going to coach next season, not in the NBA. If he wants to get a head coaching job, he’ll have to do it through an assistant position, which might be available for him at Golden State. For those with good memories, that was supposed to be his original role, but things changed. Going back to Europe might mean more money and power, but it takes him away from being an NBA head coach again, hurting his chances. But Blatt is an anecdote at this point, and irrelevant to the Cavaliers, whatever happens in the NBA finals.