The Cleveland Cavaliers entered Friday as the best team in the Eastern Conference with a pathway carved out for a return trip to the 2016 NBA Finals. Apparently that wasn’t good enough to help David Blatt keep his job. In a rather shocking development, the Cavaliers have reportedly fired Blatt, removing him from his post after just 123 games at the helm.

Cleveland was not in dire straits before Blatt was let go, as the Cavs made it to the NBA Finals last year without the help of big man Kevin Love, while Kyrie Irving only lasted one game due to a knee issue. Despite that, the Cavs took an early 2-1 series lead before falling to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. Few could blame Blatt for the title defeat, as he was working with an under-manned team in his rookie year as an NBA head coach.

Heading into this season Blatt had pressure at the highest level to get back and win it all, and judging by a 30-11 record (good for first place in the Eastern Conference) he was at least on his way to getting another chance to make up for last year’s NBA Finals loss. Cleveland saw it differently, deciding to cut ties with Blatt now and move in a different direction.

In an equally surprising move, the Cavaliers acted rather quickly in naming a full-time and possibly even long-term replacement for Blatt, as assistant coach Tyronn Lue has reportedly reached an agreement with the team to take over as the new head coach. Lue has long been seen as a “player’s coach” and an up and coming coaching prospect. Lue was in talks for jobs prior to this season, and some viewed his ascension to an NBA coaching gig as something that was “just a matter of time”.

The ethics behind this switch can be debated, but they don’t end up being a whole lot different than what the Houston Rockets did earlier this year when they fired Kevin McGale and went with a younger assistant they felt could better reach the players. Lue, at least according to the Cavs, seems to be a similar answer for the short and possibly long-term.

There’s no doubt that Lue takes over a roster capable of winning a title, but if Blatt couldn’t get the Cavs to where they needed to be – and we’re talking about a guy who helped them reach the NBA Finals in his first go around – then it’s tough to suggest an extremely inexperienced Lue can do better right away.

While that’s open for debate, that argument appears to be two-sided, as many inside the league believe Lue is ready to take over right now and could be precisely what LeBron James and co. need. Whether that is the case remains to be determined, but something arguably needed to be done after the Cavs lost two key games this past week to the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. Cleveland remains the heavy favorite to emerge as the top title contender out of the Eastern Conference, but whether or not Lue makes them the favorite to take down the Western Conference’s representative remains to be determined.

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *