Is LeBron James a Coach Killer?

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A Coaching Injustice

With the recent firing of Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt, many are left to wonder why a coach sitting atop the eastern conference halfway through the season is being handed a “pink-slip”.  After coming off an NBA Finals appearance in just his first year as head coach, Blatt had to game plan against the league’s MVP, Steph Curry, and an extremely talented Golden State Warriors roster.  Without his own all-star point guard, Kyrie Irving, and power forward, Kevin Love, the Cavs went 6 games with the Warriors, eventually losing the NBA Finals game 6 on their home floor.  Reason for firing?  Not yet.

After opening the 2015-2016 season with 30 wins and 11 losses, Cleveland believed that it was somehow time for a coaching change.  How does a coach with a winning percentage above .500, and in first place in the Eastern Conference, get fired after a year and a half.  Multiple media outlets suggest that coach Blatt did not have the ear of LeBron James and therefore was not fit to coach “his” team.  The Cavaliers promoted their associate head coach and two time NBA champion, Tyronn Lue, to take over for Blatt.  Some may not be able to read between the lines, but to me, if Blatt was indeed African American and shared the brotherhood of the NBA with LeBron, Blatt would not be standing in the unemployment line.

For example, Blatt played his college basketball in the Ivy League, at Princeton, and did most of his coaching overseas. He does not have more than a year and a half of NBA coaching experience, and was hired well before LeBron was a part of the Cavaliers. When Blatt was hired by the Cavaliers, he was handed a roster with many young players, like Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennet, and already had a star player in Kyrie Irving. By the time his first season was starting, LeBron James and Kevin Love had been added to the team, while getting rid of one of the best looking young guards in the game, Andrew Wiggins. Blatt’s job was completely reconstructed when LeBron announced he would be returning to Cleveland, as now Blatt would become more of a puppet in LeBron’s bigger picture for this Cleveland team.

While taking to social media, James calls the criticism of him being a coach killer unfair and has had nothing but respect for his coaches. He denies having anything to do with Blatt being fired, but I struggle to believe that Cleveland made the decision to fire their 30-11 head coach, without consulting the greatest player in the world. After all, wherever there is smoke, there is fire.  In the words of Ryan Ilardi, “a guilty bird sings.”

– J. Tennent


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