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While it didn’t get talked about a lot when LeBron James made his decision to return to Cleveland, one of the byproducts of that was Blatt’s job security reducing drastically. He had some leeway, per say, beforehand. The Cavaliers were coming off of draft No. 1 overall for the third time in the last four years and knew that it was going to take some time to develop the team into the true contender they coveted.
Then James came, and his arrival was followed up by the acquisition of Kevin Love. That made Blatt’s job become the most pressure-filled in the league. While there are other coaches who are expected to win a championship this year, none of them are as likely to be fired like Blatt would if they fell drastically short. This is the downside of being a coach whose credentials have all been established overseas. Back with Maccabi Tel Aviv Blatt was nearing sainthood and had the security to weather bad stretches like this. In the NBA, he’s basically a rookie who could end up being first in the scapegoat line, just ahead of Kevin Love – who we’ll talk more about shortly.
Truthfully, Blatt deserves the season to prove himself. This team is going to be judged by whether they win a championship, so it’d be extremely unfair to dismiss Blatt before he even gets a chance to play a playoff game or have enough time to really get a grasp for how to coach this team. After all, coaching superstars is the toughest job for a NBA head coach. Blatt went from having a young team that he would have had the full attention of to a star-studded team led by guys who have had success in the league and think they know what it takes already. That’s a big adjustment for Blatt, but a fourth coach in three seasons is not the right move for the Cavaliers. They need to be a little bit patient. Championship contenders are rarely formed overnight and dismissing Blatt would create more work for the team in a short amount of time than they need on their plates right now. However, the report below is enough to send a fear into the front office that could spark panic moves.
As a team that isn’t really playing for anything this season other than the development of their young core, which Burks is a big part of – evident by the sizable extension they gave him this past October – this is a tough loss. Burks has really come a long way since first coming into the league and was putting up some of the best numbers of his career – 13.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and three assists a game. His three point percentage was up all the way to .382 as well.
With Burks out, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum should see an increase in minutes. Both rookies have played minor roles for the team this year – logging right around 18.2 minutes a night. But, Burke was playing 33, so they should be seeing the floor a lot earlier and often the rest of the way.
Stan Van Gundy has been very selective with where he coaches throughout his career. There were multiple teams that made aggressive runs at him after he was let go by the Orlando Magic, but he passed. Van Gundy is a family man who doesn’t like to move around a lot and has made enough money at this point to where he can comfortably step away whenever his time with the Pistons’ comes to an end. He’ll have plenty of post-coaching opportunities as he is a very good analyst and would be great on either television or radio.
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