Report: No Cavaliers veterans liked David Blatt

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Cavaliers general manager David Griffin tried to pin David Blatt’s firing on lackluster results on the court.

That’s a tough case considering Blatt guided Cleveland’s to last year’s NBA Finals and a 30-11 start this season.

So, what was it?

LeBron James, despite his denials and public statements, has received plenty of blame for Blatt’s dismissal. But he apparently wasn’t the only Cavalier down on Blatt.

Far from it.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

This is my 14th year covering the NBA. Before I covered the NBA, I covered colleges for a while, where I covered several coaches who went on to be relatively big-time coaches.

And on every team and every coach I’ve ever covered, I’ve never seen a coach dynamic with a team like I saw with David Blatt.

And I don’t know the way he handled the Russian national team. I don’t know the way he handled his teams in Greece. I don’t know how he handled his teams in Israel, in Russia, in Italy, everywhere else he went.

All I know is what I saw, and I saw a guy who completely was unable to get even a modicum of respect from a majority of his players.

And I also saw star players and veteran players – not just LeBron, OK. We know LeBron had issues with him. But basically any player that had any sort of veteran status in the league, more than Joe Harris and Matthew Dellavedova – all the veterans didn’t like him, either. He wasn’t able to win over about anybody.

Blatt clearly had a problem with how he spoke to people. Despite being a first-time NBA coach, he insisted at pointing out his vast experience at every turn. He thought that would get him respect that wasn’t coming from NBA veterans.

That’s on him.

LeBron also could’ve done more for Blatt. Players’ follow the star’s lead, and LeBron set the tone of undercutting Blatt. Teammates noticed. (They also noticed how Blatt responded, further eroding the coach’s standing.)

Of course, LeBron wasn’t obligated to defend Blatt to his teammates. LeBron can make his own judgments. If he didn’t believe in Blatt, LeBron didn’t need to carry the coach’s water.

Blatt had to earn that respect. It wasn’t – and shouldn’t have been given – just because he held the title of head coach. Players are increasingly and correctly asserting their own worth. A coach is just part of a collective trying to win – not a supreme leader to be feared and worshipped. LeBron, one of the most accomplished players in the league, understand that more than most.

He won’t have to deal with another LeBron, but this is a good lesson for Blatt if he wants to continue coaching in the NBA. He needs to reevaluate how he builds trust with players.

All NBA teams could also learn from this. How well a coach and players get along matters only so much. The Cavaliers were incredibly successful under Blatt, who did an alright job managing the action on the court. As long as there isn’t an outright mutiny – and Blatt avoided that – players’ talent reigns supreme.

But eventually, personalities matter, and it seems the Cavs just got tired of dealing with Blatt’s.

Craig Sager to get third bone marrow transplant thanks to anonymous donor

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Legendary TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager talks with Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sager is on a one game assignment for ESPN. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.

Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.

This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.

Report: With Joffrey Lauvergne trade, Mitch McGary likely done with Thunder

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 16:  Mitch McGary #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center on March 16, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.

Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.

McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.

McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.

Dwight Howard is shooting 19-footers to improve his free throw stroke

Dwight Howard
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If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?

Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.

It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.

The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.

The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.

But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.

Report: Veteran big man Jason Thompson agrees to deal in China

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 15:  Jason Thompson # 34 of Sacramento Kings in action during the 2014 NBA Global Games match between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings at MasterCard Center on October 15, 2014 in Beijing, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.

Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.