DAVID BLATT IS OUT IN CLEVELAND
The Cleveland Cavaliers made a bold statement and fired second year head coach David Blatt on Friday, January 22, 2016 despite Cleveland sporting a 30-11 record so far this season. Blatt compiled an 83-40 record in his one and a half years with the Cavaliers. Former NBA player and assistant coach Tyronn Lue has taken over and signed a 3-year contract worth over 9 million dollars. Rumors are running rampant on why Blatt was let go by the organization. The biggest one is that LeBron James and the rest of the roster didn’t respect Blatt, who was a highly successful coach in Europe for years.
Tyronn Lue is seen by many as a players coach who is very well respected and with LeBron James taking a liking to him. Everybody knows James runs the franchise and whatever he wants and says goes. James and the rest of the Cavs roster had tuned Blatt out and wouldn’t even run the plays the former coach wanted to call. I believe this was highly disrespectful and could have been handled in a better way. James didn’t like Blatt so he was fired. End of story. Star players run the NBA and have more authority then head coaches. It has been that way for years and won’t change in the foreseeable future.
Lue, a former of Nebraska star will implement more of an uptempo style of basketball, which should play more to the strengths of James and point guard Kyrie Irving. Cleveland will still be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and head back to the NBA finals. However, unless a trade is made to bring in some front-court help it won’t matter in the NBA Finals. Golden State just thrashed Cleveland on its own home-court by 34 on January 18 and would still beat Cleveland if they had a rematch in the finals. San Antonio, currently the 2nd best team in the Western Conference would also be prohibitive favorites if those two teams matched up.
I believe David Blatt got a raw deal. However that is life in the NBA. He is a good coach who will definitely land another coaching job when openings become available in the off-season. He would do a good job with a young, inexperienced roster so he can coach them up as well as being respected by younger players. Cleveland is in a desperate, win-now mode with veteran players who clearly tuned Blatt out. We will have to wait and see how it all turns out for all parties involved as NBA fans will sure to be closely watching.
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2. WILL KEVIN DURANT TAKE A HARD LOOK AT THE KNICKS IN FREE AGENCY?
The Knicks have been playing much better as of late and are hovering around the .500 mark. The emergence of rookie Kristaps Porzingis has given New York a building block for the future. Rumors have swirled that All-Star Kevin Durant will take a real hard look at the Knicks when the free agency period starts this summer.
I believe these rumors are legit as Durant’s time in OKC may be coming to an end. He is in his prime and will probably want to play in a bigger market. There is no bigger market then New York, with the possible exception of LA. The Knicks have roughly 19-million in cap space and while Durant will command around 25-million, Knicks GM Phil Jackson would find a way to fit one of the best players in the world under the salary cap. The Eastern Conference is an easier path to making the NBA Finals and Durant knows this.
Carmelo Anthony,Kristaps Porzingis, and Durant would make an excellent threesome and would immediately challenge for supremacy in the East. All of the marketing opportunities will be there for Durant and could make him even a bigger world-wide celebrity. Don’t count out General Manager Phil Jackson. He will make an all-out sales pitch to the All-Star and make him think long and hard about coming to the city that never sleeps.
3. JOSH SMITH TRADED TO HOUSTON
Josh Smith is heading back to the Houston Rockets. He was traded for the draft rights of Marty Leunen, a 2nd round pick in 2008 who is currently playing in Italy. The Clippers also sent cash to Houston to complete the trade. Houston will hope that Smith can provide a veteran presence off the bench and help the 2nd unit with his defense and scoring ability. Maybe it provides a spark for the Rockets. It is a no-lose situation for Houston. Maybe they can possibly rekindle some of the ability that is left in Josh Smith’s declining abilities.
4. IS BOSTON LOOKING FOR A MAJOR FRONT-COURT UPGRADE?
Boston has made no secret of its intentions to upgrade the front-court talent on its roster. While Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk are nice, solid players the rumor is Boston is looking to pry Brook Lopez away from the Brooklyn Nets. Other names floating around are Ryan Anderson, Markieef Morris, and Jared Dudley.
In my opinion, Boston shouldn’t force a deal if the a trade doesn’t heavily favor them. The upcoming 2016 NBA Draft is going to be a huge opportunity for Boston. They have 3 first round draft picks and 4 second round picks in the 2016 draft. One of those picks will probably be in the top-5 due to the Brooklyn/Boston trade a few years back involving Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. It was a fleece for Boston and completely ruined the direction of the Nets franchise. Maybe Brooklyn can unload Lopez and recoup one of the first-round picks they handed Boston. The Celtics have the opportunity in the next year to significantly upgrade the roster and become a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference for years to come. I believe they shouldn’t overpay for an upgrade this year. I say they should let the draft play out and then see what free agency has to offer. The future looks bright in Boston.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THESE “NBA BASKETBALL RUMORS?”