The Cleveland Cavaliers have a hit a rough patch, losing LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to injuries while dropping four of their last five games.
There have also been reports of the team not getting along with head coach David Blatt and LeBron James already considering leaving.
In the NBA, where head coaches are often the first to get blamed for poor team play, Cavs GM David Griffin adamantly defended Blatt during a media session.
Griffin firmly stated that Blatt’s job is not in danger:
“This narrative of our coaching situation is truly ridiculous. It is a non-story, it’s a non-narrative. Coach Blatt is our coach. He’s going to remain our coach. Do not write that as a vote of confidence. He never needed one. It was never a question.”
Again, while reports of the Cavs’ dissatisfaction with Blatt have been somewhat timid, players haven’t totally come to the defence of Blatt, either. When asked if Blatt was the “right” coach for the Cavs, James simply answered, “Yeah, I mean, he’s our coach. What other coach do we have?”
It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, and it led many people to believe that if the Cavs’ fortunes don’t improve, James will use his power within the organisation to make the Cavs hire a new coach.
Griffin tackled this by saying the media portrayed the situation in a more dramatic light:
“I heard the entire audio file of LeBron James’ comments. No more than three different times, he said, ‘We are growing together every day,’ ‘The team grows together every day,’ and ‘I am happy with who we have at the helm.’ But that wasn’t a sexy pull quote, so we kept looking for something else until we could pull something that sounded negative. That narrative is done. No change is being made. Period. ”
Griffin said that this is a building year for the team, and Blatt is part of that. He noted that it is a “difficult recipe to get right,” and that it will take some time for the Cavs to grow together, but everyone is committed to it.
Griffin may be telling the truth, but even if he isn’t being wholly honest, it’s a good PR move. Many people have speculated that LeBron has as much power within the organisation as anybody because he’s so vital to the team and the city of Cleveland. By Griffin taking a stand and stating that Blatt’s job is safe and the Cavs know they need to develop, it shows a form of togetherness and stability in terms of balance of power.
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