5 Reasons why Cavs fired David Blatt

david-blatt-firedStories continue to surface on why the Cleveland Cavaliers made the surprising decision to fire David Blatt after pulling out to a comfortable Eastern Conference lead. The 30-11 Cavs currently lead the 28-11 Toronto Raptors by three games and are looking like favorites to make their second-consecutive Finals trip. Obviously it wasn’t Blatt’s record that got him fired, but rather a number of other factors. That said, here are the 5 biggest reasons why he was dumped by the Cavs.

1. Blatt failed to unlock Kevin Love’s Potential

When Cleveland players met with GM David Griffin before the firing, they thought that Kevin Love was getting traded. So it was just as much a surprise to them as it was to the public when Blatt was fired. However, what may not be such a surprise is how it came down to a ‘Love or Blatt goes’ situation. Blatt reportedly told friends in Israel, “It’s either me or kevin-love-staying-clevelandLove.” The champion European coach never found an acceptable fit for a player of Love’s caliber. Despite being a star in Minnesota, Love was reduced to a three-point shooter and scrappy rebounder. It was only until the last two games that Love looked anything like his former self, totaling 35 points and 34 rebounds, But even with this recent success, Love was quick to credit Kyrie Irving for a suggested change, rather than Blatt’s coaching.

2. He never gained the Cleveland Locker Room

To say that David Blatt ever had the Cavs’ locker room would be a lie. He was originally hired to groom Andrew Wiggins and a young developing team – weeks before LeBron came back from Miami or Wiggins was traded for Love. Even after LeBron signed on to help lead Cleveland to the championship, James would wait several weeks before even meeting Blatt. It was pretty clear from the beginning that James didn’t have total respect for his new coach. And without the star player’s respect, it’s hard to win over a locker room, especially when you ignore the star’s mistakes in film sessions.

3. Blatt was 0-3 in Games that mattered Most

Draymond Green, LeBron JamesYou could probably pick out 6-8 teams that can contend for the NBA championship this season. But the reality is that the Larry O’Brien Trophy will probably be hoisted by one of three teams: the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs or Cavs. Of these three teams, Cleveland is decidedly in third right now, despite a clear path towards another East title. They lost at Golden State and San Antonio in respectable fashion. But they were waxed by 34 points last week on their home floor against the Warriors. Based on Blatt’s 0-3 record against these teams this season, it’s looking like the Western Conference Finals will be the true championship.

4. Tyronn Lue is well respected by Cavs Players

The Cavaliers’ coaching situation was odd from the get-go when Tyronn Lue, runner-up for the head coaching position, signed on to be Cleveland’s top assistant. Many saw tyronn-lue-cavs-coachthis as an immediate undercut to Blatt’s authority, and one that would slowly unravel over the course of 1+ seasons. Perhaps the ultimate sign was the picture of Lue sitting in Blatt’s seat talking to LeBron in the waning moments of the Golden State loss. A former player who was known for his gritty defense – particularly against Allen Iverson in the 2001 NBA Finals – Lue is respected by LeBron and the entire Cavs locker room. Now that respect will be put to the ultimate test with Lue taking over.

5. Griffin didn’t like the Team Culture

david-griffin-cavsMany have been quick to speculate that Blatt’s firing was all LeBron’s doing. And while James never fully supported his coach, Griffin wanted to make sure that everyone knew this was an organizational decision – not that of a single player. “This was one [decision] where I didn’t need to ask them, because I’ve watched them interact with each other for a very long period of time under a lot of different circumstances,” Griffin told ESPN. “I know what something that’s not right looks like, and I believe this was the right decision to make.” Griffin apparently felt that players would use Blatt as an excuse if they didn’t win the Finals this year, so he wanted to remove the excuse beforehand.

 

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