Tag: Cleveland Cavaliers

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

David Blatt on LeBron James bench actions: He “always put the team’s success beyond his”


Whether because he was focused on doing everything he could to win, or because he doesn’t respect David Blatt (or a little both), LeBron James came off as dismissive of his coach at times this season. LeBron said all the right things, but his actions told a different story. In the Finals LeBron was chirping when Blatt would make a decision he didn’t like, he made Blatt redraw one inbound play, he talked to assistant Tyronn Lue at critical moments more than Blatt. If you don’t think his teammates don’t notice all that, you’re kidding yourself.

So how does Blatt feel about all this?

Blatt was basically asked this during his press conference Thursday, and gave an answer that shows he knows where the power lies, as reported by Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“He is our best player,” Blatt said of James. “He’s the league’s best player. He’s a winner. He’s a proven champion. I think it’s important that he feels empowered and at the same time that he knows that he’s very much a part of this team. And I think he’s exhibited that, and always put the team’s success beyond his.”


“Now if he has felt that he has what to say and wants to impose his will in terms of influencing in a positive way on those around him, that’s a good thing,” Blatt said. “That’s a good thing for all, and I certainly encourage that and certainly respected the fact that LeBron’s heart was in the right place.”


The Cavaliers say that the Blatt and LeBron relationship is all good now, that the stories are just selling sensationalism.

To me, it all feels a Détente. LeBron thinks he can work with this, at least for now. Plus, if Blatt gets axed this summer, after coaching a team in the NBA Finals in his first year in the NBA (something he admitted was a steep learning curve), the blood is all on LeBron’s hands. And that’s not his style.

Rather, the Cavaliers will upgrade the roster, and see if Blatt and LeBron can take this team one more step next season.

Andre Iguodala thought LeBron James would get Finals MVP


If I’d had a Finals MVP vote, I would have cast it for LeBron James. I would have been in the minority, but to me he was clear and away the best player in the series — heck, it’s not even an interesting series without him. We’ve already laid out LeBron’s case.

Andre Iguodala — who won the trophy — was with me. From Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.

Iguodala was not a terrible choice. He would have been third on my list — Stephen Curry was ahead of him for me — but Iguodala was a great narrative. And so long as you let media members vote, the guy with the story will always win.

Report: Marc Gasol ‘expected’ to stay with Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers

LeBron James tops the list of players who can become unrestricted free agents this summer, but who will almost certainly remain with their current teams.

Kevin Love may very well be a close second.

After that, you look at guys whose contracts are already up, and where no opt-out is required in order to test the free agent market.

Right after LeBron and Love, we have Marc Gasol.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Gasol is expected to stay with the Grizzlies, but no final decision has been made, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Gasol could command a four-year max contract essentially wherever he wants. And, he’s been open about the fact that he intends to listen to what other teams have to offer.

But Memphis has the ability to provide him with a fifth year on a max deal that no other team can, and when you combine that with Gasol’s longtime affinity for the city of Memphis and the fact that the Grizzlies are expected to remain competitive for years to come, it’s difficult to envision him ultimately choosing to play anywhere else.

Cavaliers GM expects LeBron James and Kevin Love to both opt out, become free agents, stay with Cavs


The Cavaliers exceeded expectations this year, especially once both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were lost at different points in the playoffs with season-ending injuries.

Theoretically, if the team had remained fully healthy, there’s no telling how things may have played out. There’s hope in Cleveland to see about that next year, but there’s a lot of uncertainty with regard to the future of the roster.

LeBron James and Kevin Love have player options for next season, and can both choose to become unrestricted free agents. Cavaliers GM David Griffin says he expects them to do exactly that — before ultimately re-signing.

From Jason Lloyd of Ohio.com:

Griffin said Thursday he expects both James and Kevin Love to become free agents later this month and expects both to return next season. Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova will receive qualifying offers, making them restricted free agents that will allow the Cavs to match any offers they receive in free agency. Griffin would like to keep all three, essentially maintaining the core of a team that won 53 games and advanced to the Finals for the second time in team history.

“We very much intend to keep this group together,” Griffin said. “You look at that as a group that has the potential to be special, special good.”

The most likely outcome for James is for him to opt out to get a raise of a few million dollars for next season on a max deal under the increased salary cap, while once again keeping a player option on a deal for the following season. This type of structure will continue to give James a maximum amount of earning potential, while keeping the pressure on the Cavaliers franchise to continue to make improvements to the roster at the very same time.

Things are far less clear where Love is concerned. He could structure his next contract in similar fashion, and that may make the most sense. But if he were to want to lock down some financial security for the future with something approaching a five-year contract worth the max, the franchise would have a difficult decision on its hands.

There are role-players like J.R. Smith who will more than likely opt out as well, and there are restricted free agents Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova who the Cavaliers have the right to retain, but may choose not to if the market dictates a higher-than-expected value for their services.

There’s work to be done with this Cavaliers roster, in order to bulletproof it for the rigors of next season. It all starts with LeBron and Love, however, and how they choose to structure their next deals will be extremely interesting to watch.

Does LeBron James respect David Blatt? Actions suggest no, but Blatt says he’ll be back.

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

In Europe, the coach of the basketball team has all the power (much like college coaches here in the United States).

In the NBA, the power rests with star players.

In Cleveland, all of it rests with LeBron James — and he used that power to disrespect head coach David Blatt. Oh, verbally LeBron often supported his coach. But actions speak louder than words, and there were obvious and public instances of LeBron disrespecting his coach over the course of the season and through the playoffs.

That included in the Finals, as detailed by Marc Stein of ESPN.

LeBron essentially calling timeouts and making substitutions. LeBron openly barking at Blatt after decisions he didn’t like. LeBron huddling frequently with Lue and so often looking at anyone other than Blatt.

There was LeBron, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine. Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.

That stirred up new “would Blatt be back?” talk. Chris Haynes asked Blatt that question.

I expect he will be. LeBron could have him fired if he wanted, and Tyronn Lue is his guy, but it is not LeBron’s style to get that kind of blood on his hands. And if Blatt is fired, it is all about LeBron.

LeBron may have decided he can live with Blatt at the helm. There is support for Blatt in the organization.

Blatt is a highly respected offensive mind and was hired to help build up a young team and get them to play selfless ball (ala Golden State). Then LeBron James announced his return to Cleveland. That changed the dynamic (from rebuilding to contender) and the power structure in one move. Blatt struggled to adapt to that, still trying to put in an offense that LeBron, Kyrie Irving and other players didn’t like.

And Blatt made his share of mistakes (he doesn’t like to be called a rookie coach, but he had a lot to learn about how the NBA game worked). There was the famed almost timeout call, or having LeBron as the in-bounder on a late-game out of bounds play (something LeBron overruled).

But if LeBron disrespects his coach and his teammates see it, that door swings wide open. And it’s hard to get players to buy in if the star isn’t on board.

Expect Blatt to be back on the Cavaliers sideline next season. But just don’t equate that with respect from LeBron.