This morning, Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported that in the wake of last night's extremely disappointing loss to the Detroit Pistons, there were some doubts within the Cleveland Cavaliers organization about head coach David Blatt:
There is a growing level of worry within the Cleveland Cavaliers organization about first-year coach David Blatt and his ability to reach the team, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that there is rising concern in team circles about the level of response that Blatt is getting on the floor, with Blatt himself acknowledging that the Cavaliers "lost our energy and we lost our competitiveness" in Sunday night's embarrassing home loss to Detroit.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are 18-12, right on pace for 50 wins. They are 22nd in the NBA in defensive efficiency. They've dealt with several injuries. Stein and Windhorst also alluded to the fact that the Cavs employ Tyronn Lue, the highest paid assistant in the whole league.
Whispers about the lack of attention that various Cavs players are paying to Blatt during some timeout huddles, as well as their apparent preference to communicate with Cavs assistant and former NBA player Tyronn Lue, have been in circulation for weeks. And James acknowledged recently that he did not formally request permission to assume the bulk of the Cavs' playmaking duties, which triggered Cleveland's eight-game winning streak earlier this month.
"No, I can do it on my own," James said of his role change. "I'm past those days where I have to ask."
It's a weird situation the Cavs find themselves in. If LeBron James doesn't think David Blatt is the man for the job, well, it probably won't work long-term. It's a player's league and LeBron James is one of the three best players. It's probably worth noting that there isn't much history at all of James working to get a coach fired. He has a good relationship with both Mike Brown and Erik Spoelstra, for example.
After today's practice, Blatt disputed the notion that he's having trouble with certain Cavaliers:
Blatt on if he still has the Cavs' attention: "Absolutely I do. We just didn't play well ... Don't think it was an issue outside of that"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 29, 2014
Davis Blatt: "(CLE struggling) has nothing to do with questions along the lines of what I've heard. I just don't think that's right or fair"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 29, 2014
Honestly, I don't know what to think about this. It would be pretty crazy for the Cavs to fire another coach. It wouldn't be a great message for what is still a young team. At the same time, Lue is already on staff. Stories like this were probably inevitable from the very start when they gave Lue the contract they did.
And hey, Kyrie Irving comes to David Blatt's defense:
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
That could also be a shot at Brian Windhorst, who has previously reported that Kyrie Irving might not re-sign in Cleveland and that LeBron James would be unlikely to come to Cleveland were Kyrie on the team. So much intrigue, so much fun.