Even their star player, LeBron James, said the move was unexpected.
"I think I was just as surprised and caught off guard as everybody," LeBron told the media after Cavs shootaround on Saturday. "It’s unfortunate, what happened yesterday, and as a team we have to focus on what’s in front of us with the coach that we have now and we gotta just continue to get better."
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On the surface. it seems crazy that Cavs GM David Griffin would make the decision to fire the second-year coach after taking his team to the NBA Finals last season and guiding them to a 30-11 record this year. And while that record is good enough to put the Cavs in first place in the Eastern Conference, it’s not good enough for Griffin, or James.
"I think (Griffin) was right in everything that he said. Obviously he sees it from the outside and the inside . . . he sees us every day and he thought we weren’t reaching our potential to this point so he made the change that he felt was appropriate for this team."
James didn’t say whether or not he agreed with Blatt’s firing, but when asked about the rumors that he had any influence on the decision, LeBron said "That’s not my concern."
"I found out about it just like every other player on this team at 3:30 yesterday. Griff called us in on our day off and told us he was making a change . . . and he said ‘You can like it, you can love it, but you’re gonna respect it. This is what I feel about where our team is today and this is the decision I’m making,’ so for me, I can’t get caught up worrying about what other people think."
Griffin also spoke about LeBron’s involvement in decision-making, or lack thereof, in Friday’s press conference, saying "LeBron doesn’t run this organization."
While it seems unrealistic that the four-time MVP has no influence on players and personnel, James said he isn’t bothered by what people choose to believe.
"I stopped that a long time ago in my career . . . worrying about what other people think about me or about what I influence or what I don’t. The only thing I can worry about is how I can continue to get these guys prepared and get them playing better basketball because obviously we know we can be much better and I can be much better."