Cavs GM says team lacked championship culture under David Blatt

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CLEVELAND-- The Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt on Friday and replaced him with assistant coach Ty Lue.

David BlattBlatt came to Cleveland in 2014 after coaching Maccabi Tel Aviv for four years. Last season, he led the Cavaliers to an appearance in the NBA Finals.

"I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers," Blatt said in a statement released through Priority Sports on Twitter.

The Cavs are 30-11 this season with a 115-102 win over the Clippers Thursday night. Blatt becomes the first NBA head coach to be sacked while his team has the best record in the conference.

**click here to see a timeline of Blatt's career with the Cavs**

"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 head the head coach and wish the Cavaliers nothing but the beset this season and beyond," Blatt said.

Cavs general manager David Griffin said Blatt, Lue and the team were notified of the changes Friday afternoon. He said he did not discuss it with any players, including LeBron James, prior to making the decision.

"LeBron doesn't run this organization. He is about this organization and of this organization... This narrative that we're taking direction from him is not fair to him," Griffin said.

He told reporters he makes every decision by answering the question: Are we doing everything we can to bring championships to Northeast Ohio?

David Griffin“I’m measuring more than wins and losses,” Griffin said. “Are we building a championship culture?”

The GM said the team lacks a collective spirit and he is trying to right the ship mid-season. Griffin told the media players were surprised by Blatt's firing, but handled it "very business-like."

More Cavs stories here

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:39 pm

The news conference with GM David Griffin is slated to begin at about 5:45 p.m.

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:44 pm

Looks like we’re close to starting.

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:54 pm

David Griffin: “On behalf of the organization, I’d like thank David Blatt for his effort and dedication.” Acknowledges the group of players is willful. 

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:55 pm

Girffin says all decisions are made by answering this question: “Does it put us in the best position to win championships for northeast Ohio?”

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:55 pm

“I’m measuring more than wins and loses,” Griffin says. “Are we building a championship culture?”

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:56 pm

“What I see is we need to build a collective spirit,” Griffin says, that’s what elite teams do. He says each step forward is followed by two steps back. “Pretty good is not what we’re here for.”

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:57 pm

“This decision is going to be measured entirely by whether we are in a better position to bring championships to northeast Ohio,” Griffin says.

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:57 pm

Griffin compliments the team on its ability to overcome adversity, injuries. He says this team is not connected after wins.

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:58 pm

Calls the team a group of “individual talent with individual hopes and dreams.”

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:58 pm

Griffin confirms Ty Lue is going to be head coach, this is not an interim role.

Jen Steer January 22, 20165:59 pm

Griffin calls Lue an overachiever as a player, was a first-round pick, struggled through injuries, played for some really bad teams and some really tremendous coaches.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:01 pm

Griffin: “I don’t think the Golden State game by itself did very much.” He says you can win games in the league and get worse.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:01 pm

“I’m in our locker room a lot and there is a disconnect… There is a lack of spirit,” Griffin says. “I’m judging a lot more than wins and loses.”

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:02 pm

Lue was notified this afternoon after Griffin met with Blatt.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:02 pm

“Most importantly, Ty Lue believes in this coaching staff,” Griffin says. He notified the players after speaking with Lue.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:04 pm

Griffin says he did not talk to any of the players, including LeBron James, before making this decision. He reiterates this is his decision, but he discussed it with ownership.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:06 pm

Griffin: “Are we doing the best things we can possibly do to deliver championships here?” He says he once believed they were, but saw they didn’t to change.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:07 pm

Griffin says the players liked coach Blatt, they were surprised but appreciated the decision. “We’ve got a bunch of guys in there who know what their job is, so we gotta a very business-like group.”

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:09 pm

Griffin says Dan Gilbert was surprised, but the Finals run bought him some trust.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:10 pm

“LeBron doesn’t run this organization. He is about this organization and about this organization… This narrative that we’re taking direction from him is not fair to him,” Griffin says.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:11 pm

“They don’t have to like it, they have to respect this is what we’re trying to do,” Griffin on players’ reaction.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:12 pm

Griffin uses the phrase “Clear delineation of roles” again, in referring to keys to the team’s success.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:13 pm

“The people he’s been has a been appreciation for him,” Griffin on other players’ connection with Ty Lue.

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:14 pm

“The voice and attitude he brings is a little different,” Griffin says about Lue. “This is not an indictment of David Blatt as a coach.”

Jen Steer January 22, 20166:18 pm

“This team is not galvanized after wins,” Griffin says. Adds they are most galvanized when they are told they don’t have a chance. “We respond really well to a measure of chaos.”