Nobody saw it coming. On Friday, Jan. 22 at 3:52 pm, Yahoo’s lead NBA writer, and one of the most respected writers who covers the NBA, Adrian Wojnarowski, tweeted out that the Cleveland Cavaliers fired David Blatt.
Twitter exploded. Nearly everybody who covers or follows the NBA was in absolute shock.
At the time of the firing, the Cavaliers were sitting at first place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-11 and coming off a double-digit victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Then, all of a sudden, the franchise was set ablaze and the Cavaliers were without a head coach.
That was until eight minutes after Wojnarowski announced the firing on Twitter, when he reported that Tyronn Lue had been hired as the Cavaliers new head coach.
Lue was an assistant under Blatt and had essentially been promoted after the abrupt firing.
It was a weird 10 minutes. Just earlier in the day it had seemed like all was well in Cleveland, and while they hadn’t beat the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs yet this season, they had a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference and would almost assuredly make the NBA Finals for the second straight season.
When it first happened, I figured it was another classic mistake by a Cleveland sports team, and in all honesty, it may be, we really don’t know at this point.
After sitting on it for a few days, I see the rationale behind it. Blatt wasn’t going to coach the Cavaliers past this season, and honestly, the only reason he made it through the offseason is because they made the NBA Finals last season.
With that being the case, hiring Lue, one of LeBron’s “guys,” to coach the team for the remainder of the season and seeing if he can fix the haphazardness on and off the court seems reasonable.
Where the Cavs organization loses me is signing Lue to a multi-year deal before he even coaches one NBA game.
Coaches without any head coaching experience get hired. I understand that. The thing that gets me is that they could have easily slapped the interim tag on Lue and had him coach the season and see how it went without locking in $9 million to his contract.
With the firing of Blatt, the Cavs are now paying three coaches, as they are still paying Mike Brown’s contract. That’s ridiculous.
The Cavaliers are good, and they’re going to make the NBA Finals, no matter who is coaching them.
For the sake of the city, I hope the Cavaliers win the title, because if they can’t win the title with LeBron, who knows if they ever will.