The Cleveland Cavaliers have fired Coach David Blatt, who led the team to the NBA Finals last season.
Blatt was hired in 2014, just after winning the Euroleague title with Maccabi Tel Aviv. But WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto points out that Blatt also came aboard just before LeBron James announced he would be returning to the Cavs after four years with the Miami Heat.
“Blatt was actually hired, probably, to coach a younger team and develop them. The moment James decided to return to Cleveland, it’s like a stop-watch went off: ‘How fast can we win a title?’ Even though last year they went to the finals and lost, I think there was a feeling amongst some of the veteran players that, because David Blatt was from Europe, he didn’t have the full background to get them to the title game.”
Blatt was dismissed this afternoon, one day after the coach got defensive at a press conference following the team's win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Blatt was bothered by criticism after a 34-point loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors earlier this week. Pluto says it boiled down to the Cavs not feeling Blatt was the coach that can win a title this season.
“They know that LeBron James is 31. He has a limited number of years where he can play at his peak level. And each season that goes by where he doesn’t win a title in Cleveland is basically -- they view it – as a wasted opportunity. And I think they felt that David Blatt was not the guy that was going to help get them there because, until he came to the Cavaliers, he had never coached a game on U.S. soil. He’d always coached overseas.”
Blatt is being replaced by Tyronn Lue. The Cavs take on the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night at The Q.