Report: LeBron James Engineered Blatt Departure

Earlier this week, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst, on his podcast, said that LeBron James was the most passive-aggressive leader he had ever covered in pro sports. Passive-aggressive? Does that fit LeBron James? A passive-aggressive person is someone who gets what they want by pretending to please someone while behind the scenes operating on a total different agenda.They do this to save their reputation, so people will like them. There is plenty of evidence to support that LeBron James is allergic to public criticism. The “Decision” fiasco of several years ago was a LeBron nightmare he didn’t see coming. The public saw him as heartless, callous and ultimately a mercenary. Was Windhorst going that far when he called LeBron James a passive-aggressive leader? Perhaps not. But Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports didn’t hesitate to place LeBron James at the center of the David Blatt firing crime.

In his reporting, Wojnarowski creates a timeline that includes Mark Jackson. He writes that Mark Jackson was the coach Team LeBron was lusting for once David Blatt was hired. If Andrew Wiggins was a no name LeBron didn’t know or trust, then Blatt was an outlier in spades. Mark Jackson had just been released from the Warriors and he was angling for an in with LeBron’s group, Klutch Sports. LeBron and his group were looking to leverage their power. Dan Gilbert made no bones about it that LeBron would have his way when he returned to Cleveland. No butting heads with Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra.

“Blatt never had a chance. He never knew what hit him. From the beginning, the Klutch Sports campaign to puncture Blatt’s standing as head coach had been as relentless as it was ruthless. James is one of the great leaders in pro sports and he directed the Cavaliers, how he wanted them, in complete defiance of Blatt. Finally James had his way on Friday, the Cavaliers firing the coach of the defending Eastern Conference champions and runaway number one seed. ” (Adrian Wojnarowski)

Is any of this a surprise? No. Did anyone believe GM David Griffin when he sputtered at the podium about his operating without consulting LeBron James? No. In fact, Griffin gave it away when he said the implication- I think he used the word narrative- that LeBron James is running things isn’t fair. Not once did he say it was a lie. It wasn’t true. It was wrong.

Wojnarowski goes on to paint Tyronn Lue as the man in the middle. On the one hand,  he stayed loyal to Blatt. On the other hand, he was trying to stay in good graces with Team LeBron who wanted Lue to leave his agency and join Klutch Sports so they could get the fees when Lue became the head coach of the Cavs with an increase in his paycheck. Greed is good, should be Klutch Sports motto.

“In the end, here was the problem for Klutch Sports original plan. Cleveland refused to hire Jackson. David Griffin is too well connected in the NBA, too knowledgeable of the truths inside Jackson’s Warriors regime to let that happen. So much of Griffin’s job has been to manage the constant demands of James camp and the volatility of owner Dan Gilbert.

Once James camp realized that Jackson would never be considered as coach- nor would Lue leave his representation to join Klutch Sports agency, Lue became a compromise choice for James group, sources said. ” (Adrian Wojnarowski)

Wojnarowski paints a picture of James in open revolt of Blatt to get this Lue-as-the-coach-train moving forward. He was in open rebellion which trickled down to role players and opposing players noticed the disconnect. As Wojnarowski pointed out, there was no Pat Riley hovering in the wings to whip everyone in shape and force obedience from James.  James had finally come full circle, in complete charge.

“LeBron James and Rich Paul never had to walk into the GM’s office and demand the firing of the coach. All together, they had the capability of making everyone’s life hell until the deed was done.”

Wojnarowski’s report blows the lid off the romantic story of James coming back to Cleveland to win a title for the city. James came back to rule. It’s like the line in the movie Jerry Maguire.

“It’s not show friends. It’s show business.”

But will LeBron James allow Tyronn Lue to coach him? Lue’s reputation, all of a sudden, is dependent on that very thing. If he allows himself to get Blatt-ed, then he will look like one more LeBron James pawn. If he forces LeBron to pull back the iso game, to pass more, to be in the post more, to address his abysmal jump shooting, then he might create one more rebellion.


photo image of llananba