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David Blatt on LeBron James bench actions: He “always put the team’s success beyond his”

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

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Whether because he was focused on doing everything he could to win, or because he doesn’t respect David Blatt (or a little both), LeBron James came off as dismissive of his coach at times this season. LeBron said all the right things, but his actions told a different story. In the Finals LeBron was chirping when Blatt would make a decision he didn’t like, he made Blatt redraw one inbound play, he talked to assistant Tyronn Lue at critical moments more than Blatt. If you don’t think his teammates don’t notice all that, you’re kidding yourself.

So how does Blatt feel about all this?

Blatt was basically asked this during his press conference Thursday, and gave an answer that shows he knows where the power lies, as reported by Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“He is our best player,” Blatt said of James. “He’s the league’s best player. He’s a winner. He’s a proven champion. I think it’s important that he feels empowered and at the same time that he knows that he’s very much a part of this team. And I think he’s exhibited that, and always put the team’s success beyond his.”


“Now if he has felt that he has what to say and wants to impose his will in terms of influencing in a positive way on those around him, that’s a good thing,” Blatt said. “That’s a good thing for all, and I certainly encourage that and certainly respected the fact that LeBron’s heart was in the right place.”

The Cavaliers say that the Blatt and LeBron relationship is all good now, that the stories are just selling sensationalism.

To me, it all feels a Détente. LeBron thinks he can work with this, at least for now. Plus, if Blatt gets axed this summer, after coaching a team in the NBA Finals in his first year in the NBA (something he admitted was a steep learning curve), the blood is all on LeBron’s hands. And that’s not his style.

Rather, the Cavaliers will upgrade the roster, and see if Blatt and LeBron can take this team one more step next season.