In most circumstances, current and former players don’t speak out against their coach, even after he gets fired.
Yet the Cavaliers situation isn’t most circumstances.
With his team in 1st place in the Eastern Conference, David Blatt was unexpectedly canned yesterday, which according to former Cavs center Brendan Haywood, wasn’t a surprise at all.
Haywood spoke to NBA.com on the Cavaliers issues last year.
“Coach Blatt was very hesitant to challenge LeBron James. It was one of those situations where, being a rookie coach, and LeBron being bigger than life, it was a little too much for him. I remember we had James Jones [talk] to Coach about how, ‘Hey, you can’t just skip over when LeBron James makes a mistake in the film room.’ Because we all see it.
And we’re like, ‘Hey, you didn’t say anything about that. You’re going to correct when Matthew Dellavedova‘s not in the right spot. You’re going to say something when Tristan Thompson‘s not in the right spot. Well, we see a fast break and LeBron didn’t get back on defense or there’s a rotation and he’s supposed to be there, and you just keep rolling the film and the whole room is quiet.’ We see that as players. That’s when … as a player, you start to lose respect for a coach.
Slowly but surely, that respect started chipping away where he would kind of be scared to correct LeBron in film sessions. When he would call every foul for LeBron in practice. Those type of things add up. Guys are like, ‘C’mon man, are you scared of him?’”
While many label James a “Coach Killer”, you can’t blame him for the shortcomings of a star-struck coach, unwilling and unable to demand respect from his star player. Heading into the All-Star break, it will be very interesting to see the extremely blunt Tyronn Lue tell LeBron James that he can’t iso.
Grab your popcorn.