To kick things off, I heard that Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov were being shopped for DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. As much as Love has struggled recently, I thought it was a poor decision to trade him. Even if Cousins improved our defense, I feel Love’s offense would have been an enormous loss. Frankly, I thought it was kind of strange that he was even on the trading block, so quickly after we threw giant wads of cash at him in the offseason. Perhaps there was a reason to that. And that reason ended because David Blatt is no longer the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Look, Blatt had his faults. Sometimes he didn’t utilize his guys on offense properly, it seemed like he didn’t have much authority over the guys in the locker room (LeBron specifically), and it took some time for him to adjust to the NBA. Last season we thought that there was a possibility that Blatt could have been fired and rumors swirled around that there was a power struggle between him and Tyronn Lue, our assistant coach. That never came to be and Blatt helped lead the Cavaliers to the NBA finals. So it came as a big surprise to us that it happened now, literally in the middle of the season.
Now, did LeBron waltz into David Griffin’s office and demand Blatt to be released? I won’t rule that out, but I don’t think so. While LeBron and his agent have voiced a desire for Tyronn Lue to take over duties for Blatt, I don’t think that LeBron’s party necessarily demanded Blatt to be released. I think why Blatt was fired has a much simpler answer. Everyone felt like the team just hasn’t been gelling lately and that was enough of a concern for David Griffin to pull the trigger on firing Blatt. Most reports say LeBron wasn’t consulted about this decision and I tend to believe that.
So what happens now? I assume Kevin Love remains with the team. Mozgov was Blatt’s guy, so there’s a chance he may be traded away in the coming days or so, but I’m not going to guarantee that. This team has the tools to succeed and maybe Tyronn Lue can bring what this team needs. I hate catering to players, but I think the key to the Cavaliers’ success is for LeBron to be happy with the coaching situation. Lue is respected in the locker room, is an ex player, and now he’s the man that we will look to for our playoffs run. I’m shocked Blatt was let go, especially when it happened, but I’m going to keep an open mind about the situation. I have trusted David Griffin’s decisions before and will do so again.
That hire was completely overshadowed less than a month later when LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was one of the most celebrated days in Cleveland sports history and we were overcome with joy about what the Cavaliers season had in store. After several years of mediocre basketball, it was time for the Cavaliers to make a proper return to the playoffs.
Well, we certainly had a bumpy road in the first half of the 2014-2015 season. At around the halfway point last year, the “fire Blatt” fervor was running rampant on Twitter. It got really weird when LeBron pushed Blatt during the end of a game in January 2015. He didn’t push Blatt out of anger, but to prevent Blatt from getting a technical foul (he was arguing with a referee). That seemed like the worst of it all, because things seemed to calm down after that, especially when Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith came to the team.
As the playoffs raged on, the disconnect between LeBron and Blatt surfaced here and there but overall it was an incredible run for the team, captured by a touching moment of Blatt speaking to LeBron about how the superstar “deserved it”. Even though the Cavs lost that season, mostly due to just being completely depleted from injuries, it seemed like the Cavs were heading in the right direction.
The Cavaliers are not necessarily in a bad spot right now. Things were just not working out here and while we may never know the full extent of what went on in the locker room. I’m not completely condemning the fire, but I am definitely shocked by it. I trust that Tyronn Lue will help lead this team to victory. We have the right tools to win, we just need the right mentality.