Just 19 days after the Browns fired Mike Pettine, the Cleveland Cavaliers made a head coaching change. The Browns tied for the worst record in the NFL this year at 3-13 but the Cavs stood at a healthy 30-11 and 1st place in the Eastern Conference. Why the sudden move? We brought in Big $ of the North Coast Posse (follow on twitter @northcoastposse) to discuss the news that rocked the basketball world.
B. Galli: Let me start by congratulating you on the Hue Jackson hire by the Browns. He's respected around the league and liked by players. And although the worst playoff record in history isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, Marvin Lewis' former assistants are finding success in the league as head coaches. (see Gruden, Jay and Mike Zimmer)
Now on to the Cavs and the surprise announcement on Friday that David Blatt had been fired. Although it was surprising, it did not utterly shock me as it has many others. We're well aware that LeBron and Blatt had their issues and in the NBA, superstars can run teams. I think the Cavs felt a need to regroup and regain focus after telling losses to the Spurs and Warriors. I feel Tyronn Lue was Littlefingering behind the scenes all along. This article on cleveland.com is pretty disconcerting. It also reeks of LeBron and/or his camp leaking information to justify "their" decision. The way LeBron played at times Saturday night, like it was a referendum on the Blatt ouster. He wanted a victory so he could be proven right. I know you've been critical of Blatt in the past. What were your first thoughts?
Big $: 1st, thanks on Hue. The NCP eagerly awaits the Jackson/Goff/ T.P. era
2nd, there is a case to be made that if the Cavs had waited until 7/11/14 to pick their new coach, Blatt would not have been in the top 500 candidates. Gilbert and company were on the verge of assembling a big 3 that (on paper) rivaled Bird's 80's Celtics, The Heatles, and Shaq, Kobe, and Luke Walton. The new era Cavaliers were going to need someone who knew how to handle superstars, not a guy who was coming from a league in which Anthony freakin' Parker is a legend. With that said, even with rumors circling, I don't fault the Cavs brass for not relying on the (oft times temperamental) King's return and moving forward. Lebron's decision part deux was a wonderful surprise and worthy of any potential franchise hiccups it created. Firing Blatt on 7/12/14, would of been a PR nightmare during the greatest week in Cleveland sports history. The organization did show their hand however, by making Lue the highest paid assistant in the league, essentially ensuring the sandman would be ready to sweep Blatt off the sideline at the drop of a hat. Blatt was never the right fit for this team and had Ty not saved him from going CWebb against the Bulls last May, he would of been axed months ago.
What I do find humorous in the coverage of the firing is the "OMG LEBRON'S IN CHARGE!!!" narrative. Of course Lebron's in charge. He is the most valuable asset in sports, scratch that, any business and transformed a lottery team into conference champs overnight. In doing so, he about quadrupled the value of Danny G' s investment. You're damn right he calls the shots. We all knew that was the deal if he was going to dismiss Gilbert's Comic Sans transgression and come back to save the team. Anyone who regrets that deal is more than welcome to fire up a time machine so that he or she can watch Sergey Karasev man the 3 spot for the cellar dwelling Cavaliers.
To add to the NCP's multi-tasking for the day, I'm predicting (and hoping for) a Bray Wyatt victory in the WWE Royal Rumble tonight. Bray and his crew have been getting pushed hard over the past few weeks and a champion in the group would amp the rivalry brewing with the beast incarnate, aka Brock Lesnar.
B. Galli: Oh yes, Karasev, he of the 1.3 points per game this year for the Nets. I agree and do not understand why people are surprised with LeBron holding so much sway over the organization. This happens all the time. It did with Magic Johnson in the early 80's and reportedly with Michael Jordan in the late 80's. Now, those two stars got Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, two of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport. My issue with LeBron is who's giving him his personnel advice? Throughout his career, it's been shown that the guys he seemingly wants on the team don't usually pan out. Or they're well past their prime. Maybe he needs to hire Paul DePodesta. I will leave you all with this: What was until the announcement on Friday, Tyronn Lue's career highlight: