LeBron James clearly didn’t want David Blatt to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers but apparently Tyronn Lue wasn’t his choice either. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, James and his camp wanted Mark Jackson to take over the reins of the Cavs.
Wojnarowski details how James and his agent Rich Paul worked overtime to undercut Blatt at every turn in order to set things up for Jackson to take over. Jackson hired Paul’s Klutch Sports agency to represent him, while Klutch and LeBron worked in defiance of Blatt. The Cavs caved on Friday, firing Blatt despite his team’s 30-11 record and first-place standing in the Eastern Conference.
As has been widely reported, James would often openly defy Blatt and change plays if he didn’t like them. It is absolute poison for a team if its leader completely disregards the coach. In recent practice sessions James “had become increasingly vocal” in his opposition to Blatt. That put enormous pressure on Cleveland’s front office to do something about it.
Cavs general manager David Griffin was willing to fire Blatt, but apparently didn’t want Jackson because of the awful behind-the-scenes stories from his time as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Griffin constantly has to deal with the demands of James’ camp and didn’t want to also import the drama that Jackson might bring.
Lue became the compromise candidate, though he refused to dump his representation to join Klutch Sports. That could be an issue for him down the road, since James and Paul tend to look out for their own.
While we’re going to hear reports that James wasn’t consulted about Blatt’s firing, he deliberately created a situation where management had no other choice than to make a move. Now Lue has inherited the team and if he’s lucky LeBron’s camp won’t run him off too.