The Cleveland Cavaliers, with LeBron James back and their starting five finally intact, got smoked by the Phoenix Suns last night. The team is now 19-20, the worst any team with LeBron on it has been this late in the season since his rookie year. And after the game, ESPN's Brian Windhorst dropped a report that won't do anything to convince anyone that things are about to get better.
The whole report is juicy, but one particular anecdote sticks out:
It isn't just the casinos that are agape at how this is playing out — the Cavs were 4-15 in their past 19 games against the spread coming in to Tuesday — so are league scouts, executives and rival players.
They see players appearing to run different plays than the bench calls, see assistant coach Tyronne Lue calling timeouts literally behind Blatt's back during games, and hear Cavs players openly talking about coaching issues with opposing players and personnel. Not once, not twice, but frequently over the past several months.
This is wild! Players clashing with Blatt over play calls is one thing, but it's quite another for them to be talking about how much he sucks with opposing players. Is LeBron James really out there chatting up Chris Paul during a timeout and saying stuff like, "Yeah, man, the wife and kids are good. How are you? By the way, David Blatt is a fucking moron." Poor David Blatt's life is now just a series of indignities.
The seemingly obvious outcome of all this would be for the Cavs to suck it up and fire Blatt, but Windhorst hints at that not happening. The front office gave Blatt a strong public endorsement earlier this month, a move Windhorst describes as a signal to the players that they won't be able to push Blatt out.
So we've got a team that is not very good, a coach who seems to have lost the support of his players, and a front office that is committed to that coach so as not to give the impression that it is nothing more than LeBron James's puppet administration. What a great season it's been.