LeBron James, Cavs set to see vocal critics of David Blatt’s firing
A media firestorm not surprisingly was ignited with the sudden and surprising dismissal of David Blatt as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with much of the criticism centered LeBron James’ purported role in the move.
Over the weekend, the Cavaliers will get the opportunity to see three very vocal critics of the shakeup: San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy and NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy.
The Cavaliers face the Pistons at home Friday night before hitting the road for a Saturday showdown with the Spurs.
The Pistons’ Van Gundy savaged the decision to cut Blatt loose, saying, “If David Blatt’s getting fired, how in the hell do the rest of us have jobs? Because our front offices aren’t quite as crazy as theirs, but that’s about it.”
Popovich, meanwhile, utilized a huge blowout at the hands of the Warriors to mock the Cavaliers front office, saying, “My opening comment here will be that I’m just glad my general manager wasn’t in the locker room, because it might have gotten me fired.”
Van Gundy the analyst will be on the call of the Spurs-Cavaliers tilt in prime-time Saturday night. During a recent broadcast, the former NBA head coach argued that James played some role in Blatt’s firing, no matter how benign.
In an interview with Cleveland.com Friday, Van Gundy expanded upon his original assertion.
“I’m not sure what happened,” he said. “The only fact I know is David Blatt did an outstanding job and he also was let go. I just hope for his sake he understands what an outstanding job he did there in his 1 ½ seasons.
“Everybody wants people to declare for one side or the other. I don’t know how people comported themselves. I don’t know, for instance, if James was coachable or uncoachable, or any other player for that matter.”
James has railed against suggestions that he had any involvement or was complicit in Blatt’s departure — intentional or otherwise — and disputed claims he is a coach killer.
Whether it will serve as a motivating factor for the Cavs is unknown and whether there will be a goal to exact some semblance of revenge.
Either way, odds are good the Cavaliers at least heard what the above three had to say.