David Blatt fired by Cleveland Cavaliers
Assistant Lue to take over as head coach
The Cleveland Cavaliers have fired coach David Blatt and replaced him with top assistant Tyronn Lue.
General manager David Griffin said Friday night that the Cavs had been taking steps back and were lacking connection.
Griffin says the team isn't in the business of being "pretty good."
Blatt led Cleveland to the NBA Finals last year. He was fired one day after expressing frustration with criticism of a team that's 30-11 and the top team in the Eastern Conference.
Lue is scheduled to make his debut Saturday night when the Cavs host the Chicago Bulls.
Griffin says Lue is not an interim coach and has the "pulse of our team."
Blatt was 83-40 with the Cavs.
David Blatt: 1st head coach to be fired when his team has best record in its conference since conferences began (1970-71) via <a href="https://twitter.com/EliasSports">@EliasSports</a>—@ESPNStatsInfo
Blatt's firing came one day after the coach was defensive following the team's win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Blatt was bothered by criticism his team led by LeBron James received after a 34-point loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors earlier this week.
There are conflicting reports on whether or not James knew of, or had a hand in the decision to fire Blatt. Adrian Wojnarowski reporteded that James and his agent Rich Paul have been advocating for Lue to become head coach since last season, while ESPN is reporting that althougth James was informed of the decision, he was not consulted on it.
Blatt's second season was going better than his first year, when he struggled to adapt to the NBA game after being a successful coach in Europe. But despite injuries and a team learning to mesh with stars James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, the Cavs still made it to the finals before losing to the Warriors in six games.
Following Thursday night's win over the Clippers, Blatt shared a moment with James at his locker. The pair shook hands and smiled at each other, without any hint that a coaching change could be forthcoming.
Moments earlier, Blatt was defensive about comments made about his team in the wake of the blowout loss to Golden State. He argued that his team deserved more credit than it was getting and said he was doing so because "it's about my guys."