David Blatt’s job security in jeopardy as Cavaliers struggle
The Cavaliers are off to a disappointing start, fueling speculation that rookie coach David Blatt may not be long for the job.
LeBron James had a chance to pour cold water on rumors that Cavaliers coach David Blatt’s seat is getting hotter and chose to do so with odd responses that at first made him seem detached, but end by calling out media members for the initial report.
The Cavaliers’ star was asked about an ESPN report that the organization was worried the team wasn’t responding to its rookie head coach. His initial response wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. When asked if Blatt was the “right” coach for the team, James demurred.
“Yeah, he’s our coach,” James said, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “I mean, what other coach do we have?”
That hardly reads as a vote of confidence for Blatt. However, when it was noted that James’ feelings on the matter carry a lot of weight, this is what he said:
LeBron James’ full response when told an endorsement of coach David Blatt would carry a lot of weight: pic.twitter.com/FPArIYZHpt
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 29, 2014
This can be read one of two ways depending on what sentence gets pulled out for emphasis. On the one hand, James is passing on the opportunity to back Blatt, a telling move because Blatt was hired before James and reportedly wasn’t James’ first choice. On the other hand, James strongly attacked reports suggesting a possible rift between Blatt and the team and was much more neutral in his words in other answers.
Other players were more explicit with their praise for Blatt. Most notably: Kyrie Irving:
Kyrie Irving said he would “do anything for Coach Blatt.” Afterwards, said w/in earshot: “I know exactly where those questions came from”
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) December 29, 2014
Regardless of James’ words, this situation is far from resolved. James and Erik Spoelstra weren’t exactly on the best of terms early in James’ career with the Heat, but the Cavaliers appear even more listless than that Heat club and haven’t shown many signs of growth. The Heat stayed patient, eventually improved and James connected with Spoelstra. Will Cleveland do the same with Blatt?