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David Blatt: “I didn’t fail in my job, I failed keeping my job”

David Blatt

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt claps during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, in New York. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 101-83. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)


David Blatt is not watching the NBA Finals. He’s still a little bitter about being ousted as the Cavaliers coach mid-season... actually, “a little bitter” undersells it. He’s ticked.

Blatt is back in Europe, taking a head coaching job in Turkey, and was interviewed by about the NBA Finals and more. (Hat tip Ball Don’t Lie and Reddit).
“It was hard for me watching the last games. I can’t watch the finals. So I just don’t watch the games and I settle reading the results on the internet. The playoffs I would still watch, but not more than that”.

About why he was let go by the Cavaliers:
“I can’t think of any reason in the world. Maybe for them, thinking forward, I wasn’t the person to lead. It hurt me very bad. It surprised me, I didn’t feel well, but you move on. There are disappointment in life, the question is what do you do when you take a blow. I could have coached in the NBA next season. It’s more about timing . Sometimes great coaches have to sit outside”.

I can think of a reason: LeBron James didn’t want him there. Blatt owns up to not handling his relationship with LeBron well and not grasping the power structure.

“You have to learn to work with people like him, not manage him”, He says in retrospect. “this takes time. There are a lot of things I would have done differently, with him included. In the reality of the NBA and this team, there is no doubt that Lebron is the center. He is the cornerstone of the club, there is no doubt that Lebron was more important to the system than me”.

Where were you in this equation? You have taken Cleveland to its highest point, you didn’t failed.

“I didn’t fail in my job, I failed keeping my job”.

Blatt knows basketball, that’s not in question. But he came in demanding respect and plaudits for what he did in Europe, rather than be humble and earn that respect from the ground up. Blatt needs to be the smartest man in the room, and that personality doesn’t click with everyone.

If Blatt were still coaching the Cavaliers, the team would have returned to the NBA Finals — they are far more talented than any other team in the East. But would they be better off? The players are happy with the change, more importantly LeBron is happy with the move, and that has allowed the chemistry on this team to improve.

What that ultimately means on the court remains to be seen.

Except by Blatt, he’s not watching.