David Blatt deserved better.
I don’t understand, or maybe I do understand, why Blatt was handed a pink slip last week. We see this all too often in professional sports, but we see it much more frequently in the NBA than we do in the other three leagues. Magic Johnson doesn’t like Paul Westhead? Gone. Michael Jordan doesn’t like Doug Collins? Adios. Kobe Bryant doesn’t like any head coach he’s ever played for? Bye-Bye. Larry Bird will deny it until the day he dies, but even he led a team that quit on a head coach. Don’t believe me? Watch tapes of the 1983 playoffs; his fellow Celtics couldn’t get rid of Bill Fitch fast enough.
But this? All of the guys that I named above were fired for a reason. In some capacity, they failed to produce on the court. David Blatt was different. He was fired without provocation. And if you don’t know why he’s standing in an unemployment line today, please invest in a shovel to dig your head out of the sand.
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin was very vague when asked why Blatt was dismissed, citing a “lack of fit with our personnel and our vision.” Really? I never thought that reaching the NBA Finals in his first year and leading the team to the Eastern Conference’s best record (30-11) in his second year didn’t fit with your vision. So if the Cavs had the same record as Golden State, would he still not have ‘fit’ with the team’s personnel? Griffin also disputed the notion that James was part of the franchise's decision-making process regarding Blatt, saying the four-time MVP "doesn't run this organization."
Man, that’s the worst poker face that I’ve ever seen. Who does he expect to believe that? And speaking of the self-proclaimed King, what does he think about all of this?...
"That's not my concern," James said. "I found out about it just like every other player on this team at 3:30 yesterday. ... I think [Griffin] was right on everything he said. ... Like it or love it or hate it, we got to respect it."
So, LeBron is going to further insult our intelligence by claiming that he knew nothing about this? Sure LeBron, and I’m sure that Carlo Rizzi had no idea that Sonny Corleone was going to get shot up 14,593 times at the tollbooth, either. That’s what this was: an ambush. LeBron isn’t happy with the coach, they get blown out a couple of times, and they fire the coach that brought the tortured city of Cleveland to within two wins of their first NBA Championship (while missing two of their three best players). Rick Carlisle said succinctly, and so well, “it’s embarrassing to our league.” It sure is. Make no mistake about it: the Cavaliers do NOT make this decision without LeBron’s knowledge and approval.
As if this couldn’t look any murkier, who is replacing Blatt? None other than Tyronn Lue. James never bought what Blatt was selling, and all of a sudden the team hires LeBron’s friend to coach the team? I can’t be the only one who sees through this farce.
"We've been friends since I was 17 years old, but at the end of the day, he's still the coach and I'm underneath him," James said. "He will coach me and push me, and I'll listen to everything he has to say and go from there. Don't try to make it a story of why me and Coach Lue are so tight. I think it's a lot of coaches and players that's close in this league. It just happened to be me."
This entire situation is a disgusting joke. Nothing would make me happier than to see this team fall flat on its face. However, don’t count on it happening. The Cavaliers will still represent the disgracefully bad Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals because, well…who’s going to beat them?
Vindication for Blatt will come in June. When the Cavs are demolished in the Finals by either Golden State or San Antonio, it will be crystal clear that David Blatt was not the problem; he never was. The problem is a league epidemic that has been ongoing for almost 30 years- star players, such as LeBron Sergeant Schultz James, dictating personnel moves for selfish, self-serving reasons. The inmates have been running the asylum for far too long, and it’s time for a change. Maybe something like this....
"You have to answer for David, Lebron..."
Where's Al Pacino when you need him???