David Blatt Fired By Cleveland Cavaliers

Jan 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt reacts in the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt reacts in the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Cavaliers have fired David Blatt. Tyronn Lue has been promoted to head coach.

According to Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers have fired head coach David Blatt. The news comes four days after the Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors by 34 points on Monday.

Blatt was 83-40 in one and a half seasons with the Cavaliers (30-11 currently). He was originally signed from Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Euroleague and won 17 championships in his 21 years of coaching professional teams abroad. That is quite an impressive resume for any coach whether it is overseas or in America.

However, for Blatt, he was never able to adjust or given a fair chance. When he was originally hired, he was supposed to help develop a young team into a winner with the core of Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. But when LeBron James decided to “come home,” everything became bittersweet.

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It was bitter because Blatt likely had a plan in place for this young team, but it was sweet because the team got the services of one of the best players in the NBA back along with other moves. Bennett and Wiggins were traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. The Cavaliers went from a rebuilding team to a championship contender in two months.

Blatt had no idea what he potentially was in for.

For fans, it was a great day because the Cavaliers finally had their version of the “Big 3” and they were going to challenge the 72-10 record of the 1996 Chicago Bulls. In Blatt’s case, it was wondering how he was going to control three different personalities (James, Irving, Love) and make the rest of the roster work.

It started out rocky for the Cavaliers. They lost three of four games, and people already believed that the sky was falling down. They went on to play average basketball until  James came back from his two-week vacation in Miami and they made a trade in January 2015. The genius of David Griffin slowly started to show.

The Cavaliers traded away two first-round picks to the Denver Nuggets for Timofey Mozgov and a second-round pick. They followed that up with a three-way trade that involved six players, sending Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

They also traded away Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk to the New York Knicks. The Knicks then would also receive Lance Thomas from the Thunder and the Cavaliers acquired Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. After that trade, the Cavaliers went 39-15 on their way to the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

Blatt was showing that his system worked and that he could coach in the league. He then worked magic and got a team without Love and Irving to the NBA Finals.

They managed to go up 2-1 on the Golden State Warriors, but it wouldn’t last long. The Warriors ended up winning the series and the NBA championship, 4-2. Some believed that Steve Kerr completely outcoached Blatt. There were times where Blatt didn’t go deep into the bench and failed to make in-game adjustments–and it definitely showed.

It was not how he expected things to end in his first year.

There was numerous speculation that he wasn’t the right coach for the team and that he was overwhelmed in each game. While this might have been true, he never had the chance to learn from his mistakes and grow as a head coach due to the “win now” mode the team was in. Anything besides a five or 10 game win streak was deemed unacceptable.

He was put into a situation where he wasn’t ready to lead men in the NBA and it ultimately led to his dismissal on Friday. Was it because James didn’t respect him? Could it be due to the bad utilization of Love?  Was it due to his poor use of the rotation? It goes much deeper.

Adrian Wojnarowski  of Yahoo! Sports reported that Blatt never had a chance from the beginning with the Cavaliers and James. The sports agency run by agent Rich Paul that represents James known as “Klutch”  already had a coach picked out–Mark Jackson–before Blatt even started his first training camp.

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The Cavaliers refused to hire Jackson due to alleged issues he caused during his tenure with the Warriors. So because of that, Owner Dan Gilbert made Tyronn Lue the highest-paid assistant coach in the NBA. This was due to him already being the successor of Blatt if he was fired. Well, that day came for Lue and Klutch Sports.

Lue didn’t take the interim tag and signed a three-year deal for $9.5 million to become the full-time head coach.

I think that Blatt will get another chance, whether he stays in the NBA or goes back to the Euroleague. If he stays, he could potentially end up on the Warriors coaching staff, since Kerr wanted him to join them before the Cavaliers signed him.

If he decides to go back to Europe, he will probably be able to land any job he wants. The firing might seem like an overreaction to some fans, but it was the best move for the team. Blatt never got the respect that Lue got. He never played or coached in the NBA before.

It showed during timeouts how some of the players especially James would go to Lue instead of even listen to what Blatt had to say.

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There were probably times when Blatt would call plays and James would wave them off. It was just the right place at the wrong time for him. Maybe one day Blatt could turn into a great coach, but until then he should just sit back and take his experience with the Cavaliers as a lesson learned.