Cavs Fire David Blatt, Replace Him With Tyronn Lue

David Richard / USA TODAY Sports Images

David Richard / USA TODAY Sports Images

3:42pm: GM David Griffin was the catalyst for the change, a source tells Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). He didn’t consult any of the players, according to Haynes (on Twitter), and he convinced the owners that the team wasn’t performing up to expectations, Lloyd adds.

2:54pm: The Cavs have fired head coach David Blatt and reached agreement on a three-year deal with Tyronn Lue to replace him, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links here). Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported that Lue, who had been serving as the team’s lead assistant, would take over the head coaching job (Twitter link). The timing of the move is a surprise, coming off the team’s win against the Clippers on Thursday, one that helped erase at least some of the memories of the team’s blowout loss to the Warriors on Monday. Discontent had been growing in the Cleveland locker room, tweets Brian Windhorst of, noting that the dissatisfaction dates back nearly to the beginning of Blatt’s tenure last season. Owner Dan Gilbert had been a fervent supporter of Blatt, Windhorst adds (Twitter link), but it appears the owner has finally seen fit for a change.

Chatter that LeBron James and others on the Cavs were done with Blatt had been building recently, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick, but the team’s brass didn’t consult James on the decision, according to Windhorst (on Twitter). Still, the organization knew that James likes Lue and has wanted to have a former NBA player as coach, Windhorst adds (Twitter link). James and agent Rich Paul have been strong advocates of Lue taking over for Blatt since last season, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Windhorst suggested earlier this week, after the Warriors loss, that Blatt’s job hung in the balance of how well the team performed the rest of the season. Blatt said dire assessments of the team’s future in the wake of the blowout were overstated, but it appears the coach was in an even more tenuous situation than most realized.

The Cavs made Lue the highest-paid NBA assistant coach ever when they hired him to Blatt’s staff in 2014. He reportedly interviewed twice for the head coaching job before the team instead gave it to Blatt. Lue played 11 seasons in the NBA, the last of which was 2008/09. He joined the Celtics staff the next season and followed Doc Rivers to the Clippers where he continued as an assistant coach before heading to Cleveland. This will be his first job as a head coach.

Blatt went 83-40 in the regular season and 14-6 in the playoffs during his season and a half in charge of the Cavs, a team with the highest of expectations. James returned to Cleveland from his time with the Heat just weeks after the Cavs hired Blatt, and that drastically changed the nature of the job, which became a win-or-else proposition as the team moved away from rebuilding and positioned itself to win immediately.

The relationship between James and Blatt drew close scrutiny, but Blatt’s brusque personality rubbed many the wrong way, and James was far from the only one who had issues, notes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter links). Still, Blatt has seemed on much more solid footing this year than he was early last season, when the Cavs started 19-20, a sluggish beginning that reportedly prompted worry from the team’s brass about the coach’s job performance.

Is changing out Blatt for Lue the right move for the Cavs? Leave a comment to tell us.

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25 thoughts on “Cavs Fire David Blatt, Replace Him With Tyronn Lue

  1. J Hill

    So stupid. LBJ is the GM of my team. Blatt should have publucly torn into LBJ for his lackadaisical play as of late. Every time he shoots a 3 its basically a turnover. The misuse of Kevin Love is a clear result of LBJ and Kyrie playing buddy ball. Too bad, he could have been a good coach if LBJ never came back.

    • Philly76

      I agree. I know a lot of teams who would love to have a coach that handled that ego fest of a team that well. Championship would have been theirs if Irving and Love played so why does management crap on him? LBJ has been acting like a damn spoiled child and not helping his team very much at all especially when the players are doing what they want not what the coach asked. You can see in the games when LBJ and Love /Irving r doing what they want like the team is a high school team . I hope another team gives Blatt a chance and Lue falls on his face. I feel bad saying that as I want them to do well but not him. One more thing, if players don’t want to follow instructions then LEAVE.

        • BayAreaSportsFan

          I know Walton played for LA, but why leave a winner to go to a loser? Staying under Kerr a few years means Walton could have any job he wants with enough patience he won’t get fired after one year. Coaching LA is not a dream job for anyone.

      • BayAreaSportsFan

        The championship was never even close for cleveland. They wouldn’t of won with love and Irving on the floor, as the exact lineup you claim would of beat the warriors lost by how many points? Only delusional James fans believe that crap.

  2. J Hill

    You should do an article about all the teams that fired a head coach midseason and won a Championship.

  3. Arthur Hill

    The most surprising part is that LeBron wasn’t contacted before the decision was made.

    • I assume they were going to say this was the case regardless of whether it is true or not. This is a crazy move to make when you were 2 games from a championship in his first season as coach and 19 games over .500 currently, and I think saying that is supposed to deflect blame from LeBron. He made it clear what he wanted anyways, they didn’t need to check with him on something he and his agent have repeatedly told them.

    • Dean Gant

      Don’t be fooled about the report of him not being consulted. He had already made it known he wanted Blatt out and Lue in. The blowout loss to the Warriors made it more digestible for the public…Blatt was always an uneasy fit. Every time I was see him on the sidelines I could imagine an axe about his head. Also they gave Lue a 3 year contract to give him some power leverage within the locker room.

  4. Xyrak

    I can’t say I’m shocked – in a job like this you basically have 2 jobs:
    1) Keep the best player in the world happy and motivated.
    2) Fit the rest of the team around the best player

    If you keep getting questioned about both those points over your tenure, you’re going to have a bad time.

    Interested to see how Lue does – I loved him as a player, but this seems like an awful quick ascension to head coach. Hopefully for the Cavs, he’s ready to take the team from the get-go.

    • bowserhound

      I liked Lue when he was a Laker. But let’s be honest, LBJ is going to do whatever LBJ wants to do on this team.

  5. Arthur Hill

    Of the four coaches in last year’s conference finals, the only one to coach all of his team’s games through the end of January will be Budenholzer.

  6. Starship Pegasus

    A little suprising to see him get fired now, but it was inevitable. Even with the return of Irving, they didn’t look like a team that could beat SA or GS in the finals. Change was most definetly needed.
    With that being said, this could be Loves last chance to prove he can coexist with LeBron and Irving

  7. Dana Gauruder

    He lost the locker room and for a team with a championship or bust mentality, it was the only move. Blatt was put in a difficult situation with Lue being on his staff; now the players have the coach they want, so it’s all on their shoulders.

  8. link to

    So the reason people don’t like kevin love is cuz he’s trash on defense and doesn’t show up for big games. He’s also about as athletic as ur mom. Him and kyrie are statistically the worst pick and roll defensive duo in the ENTIRE league. Thad young meanwhile is both atletic and great on d with a little jumper as well. Teletovic and leur are both really really good 3 point shooting big men for lebron and kyrie off pick and pops as well as kick outs . Chandler adds another championship experienced pick and roll lob threat and the suns don’t even use him right. There were reports that the guys in the cavs locker room want keef cuz they think he’ll be good for them with a little veteran help. He also is athletic and can shoot 3s. Now for the nets. The nets suck,but this years draft picks and next years draft picks are both going to the celtics.(cuz they were stupid enough to trade them all)So instead of tanking, they should try to be competitive and getting a big name like love helps attract potential free agents along with the fact that it’s Brooklyn New York. Lastly for the suns, this trade gets rid of keef who is bad for the locker room, gets rid of chandler who’s been a bust for them cuz try don’t use him right, and thus frees up TOOONS of cap space for this summer and next( keep in mind lamarcusAldridge’s top two were the suns and the spurs so the suns are a real destination, plus ) seeing as how joe Johnson is on an expiring contract. Also they do poorly to finish the year to ensure a top draft pick and get young talent in Robinson an mccollugh who could be a beast he’s been hurt so far this year. Thus they get to rebuild through the draft as well as be players in free agency, with guys like knight and Bledsoe to attract free agents

  9. Morris and Thad can play the 3. So can teletovic for stretches. The cavs still have 3 point guards(delly kyrie and mo williams) and 3 shooting guards( j.r. Iman and James jones) also they’re giving up 3 bigs kevin varejao and Mozgov. Also the main reason they’d do it is cuz to beat the spurs and warriors u have to be able to play lockdown defense. Kyrie is already pretty bad and love is even worse. He has terrible footwork and has no clue when to help, or hedge, or ice. And he doesn’t even make up for it on offense cuz instead of posting him up (which he’s pretty good at) the cavs just have him stand on the perimeter. They’re 0-1 against the spurs this year and 0-2 against the warriors. Against the warriors once they were down 43 points!! They can either sit in their hands and wait for the finals loss to come or they can make a move to add defense an athleticism they need

  10. BayAreaSportsFan

    This is another move to distract from the fact that LeBron isn’t the good anymore.

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