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Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt has discussed the balancing act that he has with working with LeBron James and trying to be a “vehicle to help him win”.
Speculation has been rife for months that there are issues within the Cavs locker room as Blatt struggles to deal with the egos and pressure that come with his first job in the NBA.
While it would arguably be a lot simpler elsewhere, the former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach has walked into a difficult situation in Cleveland with the franchise bringing together an All-Star cast on the roster.
However, while James has rather unconvincingly defended his coach in the media while being seen taking over time-outs and more recently pushing his coach, Blatt admits that it has been a difficult process to deal with his biggest superstar.
“It is a process,” Blatt told Yahoo Sports. “It really has to come first from the professional side. Man to man, we’re OK. We don’t go out drinking together, but we’re fine man to man. But professionally, LeBron wants to win. And he wants from me, from any coach, a vehicle to help him win.
“Sometimes, it’s tougher. Sometimes, it’s less so. He’s one of the great players of all time. He’s been in the Finals four straight years and five times overall. He’s got his own opinions and he expresses them. At times, he can be stubborn. But what I know from him, what he wants from me, is a vehicle to help him win. And beyond that, nothing else is really important.”
Blatt appears resigned to the fact that he will not be able to win a power struggle with James, and so it almost sounds like a case of the players running the situation in Cleveland. Coupled with whispers that there are issues between Blatt and his assistant Tyronn Lue, many have speculated that it could end sooner rather than later for him.
Nevertheless, as proven in Europe, Blatt is a top quality coach and perhaps given time he will be able to work through this “process” and prove that and in turn earn the attention and respect of James and the rest of the team. Winning, of course, will obviously help his cause.