Before digging deeper into this analysis David Blatt's words, understand this is what is not being said: John Wall did not get Randy Wittman fired as coach of the Wizards.
Blatt, however, drove home a point about Europe and the NBA that if a coach doesn’t adhere to differences he won’t have a chance at longevity here. In an interview with USA TODAY:
The role of the coach is much larger as far as impact and persona. It’s much more of a coaches’ show. In the NBA, it’s a players’ show.
You better be on the same page as your best player. If not, you’re going to be in trouble.
Blatt was dumped by the Cleveland Cavaliers in his second season with the best record in the East (30-11), a year after leading them to the NBA Finals and pushing the Golden State Warriors to six games with a depleted roster. Wittman was fired after a 41-41 season that landed the Wizards outside of the playoffs for the first time in three years. He only had a partially guaranteed year for 2016-17 ($500,000 buyout).
As reported here, Wittman erred in aligning himself with the wrong people in his locker room. He might've felt justified in doing so but Wittman isn't going to play the political game Blatt is referencing. He'd rather be sent packing than being branded an appeaser. But key players grew agitated that he gave what they perceived as a free pass to other teammates, namely Nene, but overdid it with criticism of others -- namely Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat. Even rookie Kelly Oubre, CSNmidatlantic.com was later told, was among those routinely chewed out. This is when some of those players go above the head of the coach to complain to management, something that likely happened to Blatt with LeBron James in Cleveland.
The problem was Nene was on an expiring deal and now a role player. He no longer was the centerpiece the Wizards used to right the ship after years of dysfunction starting with his 2012 arrival. Wall was Wittman's only All-Star, the best player and locked up contractually through 2019. Beal is a restricted free agent who the Wizards desperately need to stay. Gortat is under contract for three more seasons, too. Oubre was in the first year of a rookie deal. They all have security.
This isn't to suggest that with better player relations that everything would've been fixed. But maybe if those relationships were better, the 15-man roster would've played harder for him (various players admitted on and off record that they did not) and that would've resulted in more wins and a playoff berth.
Still, the guess here is that Wittman would've been fired with anything short of an NBA championship. His run was up.