If there was one person who had every incentive to root against the Cavaliers in the Finals, it was David Blatt. He was fired in January after a disappointing stretch of games and replaced by Tyronn Lue, who led the Cavs to the first major sports championship the city of Cleveland had seen in 52 years.
While he was in Cleveland, Blatt was widely scapegoated for their struggles and his relationship with LeBron James was constantly under scrutiny. During the Finals, Blatt admitted that he found the series hard to watch given that they came at his expense. But on Monday, a day after they clinched the title in Oakland, Blatt congratulated them via a text message to international basketball reporter David Pick.
Despite making the Finals in his first season, Blatt’s tenure in Cleveland was always doomed to fail.
When they hired him, James had just finished another Finals with the Miami Heat and Cavaliers brass didn’t yet know The King was coming home. Blatt, who had never coached in the NBA before, was brought in to develop a young team built around Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. Then, James decided to come home, and the Cavs traded Wiggins for Kevin Love, and suddenly the wine and gold had to win right away to be considered a success. James never fully bought in to Blatt, and as a result, he was never going to be able to be successful there.
The 2014 Euroleague Coach of the Year recently accepted an offer with Darüşşafaka of Turkey.