LeBron James Treats David Blatt Like Dirt, According to ESPN’s Marc Stein
Cavaliers coach David Blatt has been under intense scrutiny all year. The poor guy took the vacant position last summer thinking he was taking over a young, emerging team. Then LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland, and all of a sudden he was supposed to know how to coach the best player in the world and win a championship immediately.
All things considered, Blatt did pretty damn well. However, there were numerous incidents in which James flat out rejected the plays Blatt drew up or just took over coaching duties himself. And that got everybody talking about how LeBron does not respect the guy.
Now ESPN’s Marc Stein is shedding more light on LeBron’s rocky relationship with Blatt. And he makes it pretty clear that he thinks LeBron needs to cut this sh*t out.
Here’s an excerpt from Stein’s condemning piece:
“I saw it from close range in my role as sideline reporter through the Finals for ESPN Radio. James essentially called timeouts and made substitutions. He openly barked at Blatt after decisions he didn’t like. He huddled frequently with Lue, often looking at anyone other than Blatt.
“There was James, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine—which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.”
Stein also points out that his ESPN collegue, Brian Windhorst, believes LeBron actually “likes having Blatt to kick around.”
Obviously, that’s just one guy’s opinion. But it’s definitely one that LeBron’s actions helped create.
So what does Blatt think about all this? Well, reporters asked him about Stein’s piece at his end-of-season press conference.
Here is his response:
“He is a galvanizing player. He is our best player. 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. 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.”
So what do you think? Should the Cavs fire Blatt? Should LeBron tone it down? Should Blatt man-up and put LeBron in his place?
There are certainly plenty of interesting questions to ponder this summer.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]