Cleveland Cavaliers fire coach David Blatt

January 23, 2016

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced today that Head Coach David Blatt has been released from his duties.  In his place, assistant coach Tyronn Lue has been named Head Coach, and according to other outlets, Lue has been inked to a three-year deal. The current Cavaliers assistant coaches and staff remain under contract and will continue working with the team.

Cavs GM David Griffin issued the following statement about the move:
“On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank David Blatt for his efforts and commitment to this franchise.  He spent the last year-and-a-half battling intense scrutiny, working to mold a very willful group and we all recognize that is not at all an easy task.
But with that said, when you have the clarity of purpose that our ownership has instilled in this entire organization, decisions often make themselves. Every decision made is an answer to the following question: does it put us in the best position to deliver Championships to Northeast, Ohio.
So, today, we are elevating Tyronn Lue, from his role as Associate Head Coach to Head Coach. I am more than confident that he will have the pulse of our team and the buy-in required to enhance the habits and culture that will foster the kind of identity and results we must have.”

The 19th head coach in Cavaliers history, Blatt compiled an 83-40 record in the regular season, and a 14-6 mark in the playoffs during his one-and-a-half seasons with the team.

Although Cleveland currently has the best record in the Eastern Conference, several issues have affected the team, including the questionable use of forward Kevin Love in the offense, the recent blowout loss to Golden State, and even more problematic, the reported lack of respect for Blatt in the locker room.  Blatt had no prior NBA head coaching experience prior to his arrival in Cleveland.

Cleveland's brass has tried to state that star forward LeBron James had no part in the firing, but such talk seems like pure lip service.  Perhaps James did not walk into the owner's office and demand Blatt's ouster, but at the very least, there appears to be credible reports that he contributed to the creation of a dysfunctional environment within the team that ultimately played some role in Blatt's dismissal.

Blatt's apparent unwillingness to stand his ground against James also did not help his own cause.

“Over the course of my business career I have learned that sometimes the hardest thing to do is also the right thing to do,” said Dan Gilbert, Majority Owner of the Cavaliers. “Our ownership group supports David Griffin’s decision.  We would like to thank David Blatt for his work over these past two seasons where the Cavaliers transformed into a playoff team after a rebuilding phase.  We believe Tyronn Lue is the right coach at the right time to put us in the best position to take the last but most challenging step to complete our mission to deliver Cleveland an NBA Championship.”

Lue is in his second season with the Cavs after being hired as the associate head coach in June 2014, and has been considered one of the top young coaches in the NBA.

Lue was previously an assistant coach on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Los Angeles Clippers, who captured the Pacific Division title with a 57-25 record in 2013-14. Prior to the Clippers, Lue spent four seasons as a member of Rivers’ Boston Celtics staff, the last two as an assistant coach. He began his time in Boston as the Director of Basketball Development in 2009-10.

Originally drafted by the Denver Nuggets with the 23rd overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, Lue played 11 seasons in the NBA, appearing in 554 career games with the Lakers, Washington, Orlando, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas and Milwaukee. The former University of Nebraska star won NBA Championships in 2000 and 2001 with the Lakers.

By Staff of and news services    

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