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Cavs GM David Griffin on Blatt firing: “‘Pretty good’ is not what we’re here for”

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 28: (L-R) Head coach David Blatt of the Cleveland Cavaliers and general manager David Griffin during the Cleveland Cavaliers media day at Cleveland Clinic Courts on September 28, 2015 in Independence, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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The Cavaliers’ Friday afternoon firing of head coach David Blatt came as a surprise, mostly because of the timing. They were coming off a win over the Clippers and still sit at first place in the Eastern Conference. Cavs GM David Griffin made himself available to the media to explain the decision.

Here’s the statement Griffin released:

“On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank David Blatt for his efforts and commitment to this franchise,” said Griffin. “He spent the last year and a half battling intense scrutiny, working to mold a very willful group and we all recognize that is not at all an easy task.”

“But with that said, when you have the clarity of purpose that our ownership has instilled in this entire organization, decisions often make themselves. Every decision made is an answer to the following question: does it put us in the best position to deliver Championships to Northeast, Ohio.”

Griffin followed up on his rationale for firing Blatt in a Friday afternoon press conference. Via’s Dave McMenamin:

It’s interesting that Griffin brought up the team’s payroll, but there’s a reason that Dan Gilbert authorized a roster worth $109.2 million, and that’s to win a championship now. And short of trading Kevin Love, there’s not much significant they can do roster-wise to make themselves better because of their cap and luxury tax limitations. So the most impactful move they can make is changing coaches, which is what they did on Friday.

Now, they’re banking on Lue’s close relationship with LeBron James creating a better work environment than the one that existed before, where the tension between James and Blatt was well-known and trickled down to the rest of the team.