Cleveland Cavaliers Wallpaper

Cavaliers Shake Up Begins with a Coaching Change

Cleveland Cavaliers WallpaperTyronn Lue isn’t accustomed to stepping over people.

Two years into his tenure as an assist to the Cavaliers, Lue is doing just that, as he has been appointed the new coach of the team — not an interim coach — after Cleveland fired David Blatt Friday afternoon.

The move comes just four days following an embarrassing 132-98 loss to Golden State, the same team that defeated the Cavaliers in six games during the 2015 NBA Finals. 

Even though Cleveland sits atop the Eastern Conference with a 30-11 record, Cavaliers general manager David Griffin attributed the coaching change to a lack of a fit with the team personnel and vision of the organization in a news conference Friday afternoon.

Since being appointed coach of the Cavaliers 39 days after the team relieved Mike Brown of his coaching duties during the summer of 2014, Blatt has complied an 83-40 record and his .675 winning percentage is the highest of any coach in franchise history.

Blatt became just the third coach to be fired the year after leading his team to the NBA Finals, joining Byron Scott (2004) and Gene Shue (1977).

Cleveland fired coach David Blatt even as the team has managed the best record in the Eastern Conference halfway through the season.
Cleveland fired coach David Blatt even as the team has managed the best record in the Eastern Conference halfway through the season.

Since the NBA separated into conferences beginning in the 1970-71 season, no coach that has led his team to the best record in the conference has been fired in the middle of the year, until Friday.

A year ago, the Cavaliers won 53 games, the fifth most in franchise history, and were two games away from winning their first ever title despite losing Kevin Love to a separated shoulder in the opening round of the playoffs and Kyrie Irving to a broken knee cap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

A heroic effort from LeBron James, as he averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.3 steals in 45.7 minutes per game. During the six games series, he totaled 215 points, no other player on the roster even managed to score 85 points.

Finally equipped with a healthy roster, Blatt has experienced difficulties merging the trio of All-Star caliber players into a consistent threat.

Since Irving returned to the Cavaliers three weeks ago, Love’s scoring average has dropped to 13.7 points per game after he posted 17.3 points per game during the first 25 games of the year.

During Blatt’s initial season as coach, he was often undermined by his players and members of his coaching staff.

Several times during the 2015 NBA playoffs, James visibly altered plays, including refusing to inbound the ball during the final seconds of Game 4. Instead, James caught the inbound pass and sank the game-winning jumper as with 1.5 seconds remaining, tying the series.

After the game, James said he convinced Blatt to scratch his play call and to just give him the ball.

James even forced Blatt to wipe away a play he drew up on the whiteboard in the third quarter of Game 5 in the NBA Finals, resulting in the coach drawing up a new play.

Tyronn Lue (left) takes over for David Blatt (right) as the fourth different coach of the Cavaliers in the past four years.
Tyronn Lue (left) takes over for David Blatt (right) as the fourth different coach of the Cavaliers in the past four years.

The second guessing wasn’t limited to the players, as Lue even called a timeout in a game against Phoenix last season, superseding the head coach.

Now, Lue will be making all the calls for the team.

When Blatt was hired, Cleveland was so impressed with Lue’s interview for the coaching position that the team managed to pry him away from the Clippers with a lucrative offer.

The Cavaliers made Lue not only the highest paid assistant coach in the NBA, but in all of professional American sports, as he signed a four-year, $6.5 million deal to become the associate coach.

Prior to joining Cleveland, Lue had spent 11 seasons in the NBA, most notably as a member of the title-winning 2001 Lakers, and then five seasons as an assistant to Doc Rivers in Boston and Los Angeles.

Lue was brought aboard to help ease the transition for Blatt as he made his NBA coaching debut after spending 30 years overseas playing and coaching basketball.

The Cavaliers locked Lue into a three-year contract immediately after appointing him head coach.

A successful start to the 47th season in franchise history wasn’t enough to save Blatt’s job, now Lue is being tasked with bringing home the first title the city of Cleveland has seen — in any sport — since 1964.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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