On Friday, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired David Blatt and made Tyronn Lue their next head coach. In a season and a half as the Cavaliers head coach, Blatt went 83-40 and helped take an injury-riddled roster to the NBA Finals where they lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors. With a small sample size, Blatt appeared to be a solid coach, however, former Cavs center Brendan Haywood shed light on a problem that was going on behind closed doors.
Coach Blatt was very hesitant to challenge LeBron James. It was one of those situations where, being a rookie coach, and LeBron being bigger than life, it was a little too much for him. I remember we had James Jones [talk] to Coach about how, ‘Hey, you can’t just skip over when LeBron James makes a mistake in the film room.’ Because we all see it.
And we’re like, ‘Hey, you didn’t say anything about that. You’re going to correct when Matthew Dellavedova‘s not in the right spot. You’re going to say something when Tristan Thompson‘s not in the right spot. Well, we see a fast break and LeBron didn’t get back on defense or there’s a rotation and he’s supposed to be there, and you just keep rolling the film and the whole room is quiet.’ We see that as players. That’s when … as a player, you start to lose respect for a coach.
Slowly but surely, that respect started chipping away where he would kind of be scared to correct LeBron in film sessions. When he would call every foul for LeBron in practice. Those type of things add up. Guys are like, ‘C’mon man, are you scared of him?’
If you cannot get the respect of every player in the locker room, then you've already lost. Blatt's fate was a long time coming.
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