David Blatt was hired by the Cavaliers in 2014 with the expectation that he would take over a squad filled with top young talent that he could grow with in his first NBA coaching job. And then LeBron James made the stunning decision to leave his burgeoning Miami dynasty to return to Cleveland and Blatt was suddenly thrust into a “win now” squad with the world’s best player and veterans that wanted to do things their own way.
After leading the Cavs to the Finals in 2015, Blatt was fired prior in January 2016 and the team was turned over to Tyronn Lue, winning the championship that June. Since then, Blatt has returned to Europe and has, in general, kept from commenting on the Cavs up until this season.
Earlier this year Blatt gave his take on Kyrie Irving’s trade request, calling Irving “brave” and noting it wasn’t a major surprise, but on Sunday he took an opportunity to jab at his old club prior to the BSL All-Star Game in Turkey. Blatt was serving as the coach for one of the teams and in a pregame interview he joked that he hoped his squad would put on a better defensive display than the Cavs did against the Thunder on Saturday night, when OKC rolled up 148 points on them.
“Well, I hope we don’t give up as many points as the Cavaliers did last night,” Blatt said with a wry smile in his pregame interview. For the most part, Blatt has been pretty diplomatic about his exit from the Cavs, but it would be hard to fault him for harboring some resentment towards Cleveland’s NBA club for his ouster. The Cavs’ recent struggles, particularly on the defensive end, teed Blatt up to finally fire off an easy shot at his old team and he just couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Unfortunately for Blatt, his team did not accomplish his goal of holding the opposition under 148, as his All-Star squad lost 151-142.