Cleveland Cavaliers Coach David Blatt was on Friday, fired by general manager David Griffin, who didn’t think the title-chasing Cavaliers were acting like a championship team under the second-year coach.
Despite Blatt taking them to the NBA Finals last season and a current 30-11 record, Griffin sensed his team was going in the wrong direction.
“We were regressing over a period of time. There’s a lack of connectedness and spirit that I just couldn’t accept.” End of quote.
Blatt had an 83-40 record with the Cavs, and his 0.675 winning percentage ranks seventh in NBA history. It is not unprecedented, however, for a coach with such an elite winning percentage to be fired.
Dallas Mavericks let go of Avery Johnson after their first-round exit in the 2008 playoffs despite his 194-70 record in three-plus seasons, a 0.735 winning percentage that at the time was the best in NBA history.
Griffin said he did not consult superstar LeBron James or any players before making the move to dismiss Blatt.
James echoed those comments today, saying he is not worried about the perception of his impact on coaching decisions.
“That’s not my concern,” he 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.”
LeBron’s fondness for Tyronn Lue and his desire to be coached by a former player were well-known throughout Cleveland’s organization.
Lue, who was hired as the team’s associate head coach shortly after Blatt came to Cleveland, will now take over on a permanent basis and Griffin has stated that the team is discussing a contract with him.