CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt Friday.
"This happened rather quickly. When I reached a point where I felt that [we weren't doing what we need to do to win a championship] I made my decision," said General Manager David Griffin at a news conference at Cleveland Clinic Courts Friday afternoon. "Sometimes you can win games in the regular season and get worse. I think we were regressing."
Griffin added that the team lacks identity and he was not 'leaving an unprecedented team payroll -- to chance.'
During the news conference a reporter asked Griffin if LeBron James had anything to do with the decision to fire Blatt.
Griffin said, "LeBron plays for this team, he's the leader of this team. LeBron wants very much to bring a championship here. LeBron doesn't run this organization. This narrative that you have of him -- it's not fair to him, me or our group. I did not talk to any players before this decision. I'm not taking a poll. I didn't ask anybody's opinion on my decision."
In addition, the Cavaliers agreed to a three-year deal with Tyronn Lue to make him the new head coach of the Cavs.
"Today we're elevating Ty Lue from Associate Head Coach Coach to Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He will not serve in an interim role," added Griffin. "Ty was an overachiever as a player. He was a first round draft pick and humble enough to learn from some of the best coaches."
"I spoke to [Ty Lue] this afternoon after I spoke to Coach Blatt. I don't want him to be in interim position, I believe in him," Griffin said.
Lue, a Kansas City area native and Raytown High School graduate, served as the Assistant Head Coach for the Cavs since 2014. Lue was included in the head coaching search before the Cavs hired Blatt. Lue served as an assistant with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers. This will be his first head coaching position in the NBA.
Lue played 11 seasons as a player in the NBA, winning two NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"The voice and the attitude he [Ty Lue] brings to this is different. Not to say Ty is a better basketball coach than David Blatt but he's a better basketball coach for this team today," Griffin said.
Blatt, meantime, was halfway through his second year with the the Cavs. The Cavs current record is 30-11 through 41 games.
Upon his firing, Blatt released the following statement through Priority Sports:
"I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. I'd like to thank Dan Gilbert and David Griffin for giving me this opportunity and am honored to have worked with an amazing group of players from LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love through our entire roster. I'd also like to express my extreme gratitude to my coaching staff. I am indebted to them for their professionalism, hard work, loyalty and friendship. I am proud of what we have accomplished since I have been the head coach and wish the Cavaliers nothing but the best this season and beyond."
Before the Cavs the 55-year old Boston native had not played or coached in the United States in 33 years. He agreed to a three-year deal, with a team option for a fourth year, that could be worth up to $20 million in 2014.
Blatt once led Maccabi Tel-Aviv to the Euroleague title, pulling off an upset over Real Madrid in the championship game. He also led Benetton Treviso to the Italian League title, and guided the Russian national team to a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
He was the first coach to make the leap from European basketball to the NBA as a head coach.
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