Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who was fired earlier today, released a statement regarding his departure (h/t Priority Sports). “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Blatt wrote. “I’d like to thank [team owner] Dan Gilbert and [GM] David Griffin for giving me this opportunity and am honored to have worked with an amazing group of players from LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love through our entire roster. I’d also like to express my extreme gratitude to my coaching staff. I am indebted to them for their professionalism, hard work, loyalty and friendship. I am proud of what we have accomplished since I have been the Head Coach and wish the Cavaliers nothing but the best this season and beyond.”
Here’s more from Cleveland amid a day of big changes:
- Griffin denied that the team gave Tyronn Lue a contract extension but noted that Lue was named head coach without the interim title, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com relays (via Twitter). Griffin made his remarks during a press conference to announce the team’s coaching change. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports heard from league sources that Lue was given a new three-year deal worth approximately $9.5MM (Twitter link).
- The Cavs’ players were taken completely by surprise by Blatt’s firing, and when a team meeting was called to announce the move many of them thought it was because Love had been traded, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com relays (on Twitter).
- There may be some players on the team who aren’t happy about the decision to part ways with Blatt, but Griffin said it was a move they would have to respect regardless of their feelings, Sam Amico of Amico Hoops tweets.
- The franchise was concerned that Blatt was reluctant to consistently challenge LeBron, who is a coachable player whose respect must first be earned, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.