Stephen A. Smith: Blatt Or Love Has To Go [UPDATES]

Stephen A. Smith: Blatt Or Love Has To Go [UPDATES]
  • Jake O'Donnell

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not good enough to win an NBA championship right now. That much we know. Whether that’s because the Golden State Warriors are a more talented, inspired, cohesive unit, or because of some fundamental flaw with the Cavaliers’ je ne sais quoi, something prevented them from competing in Monday night’s historic 132-98 blowout at Oracle Arena. What’s worse, they looked confused, frustrated and unenthused to play in a game that you would’ve otherwise expected them to show up dialed in and foaming at the mouth. So who gets the blame for the underachieving Cleveland Cavaliers?

Is it David Blatt’s fault for not motivating his troops?

Is it Kevin Love’s fault for ignoring his defensive responsibilities?

Is it the fans fault for, um, doing this kind of shit?

Could it even be LeBron James’ fault for turning his coach into a human-shaped paper weight that exists primarily to take the heat while LeBron himself directs a team of his peers from the floor? Has Bron rendered himself less effective as both a leader and a player by shouldering too much responsibility? Is anyone in the Cavs organization ballsy enough to blame LeBron? He’s teflon right now (which may explain the team’s struggles perhaps more than anything else, but oh well).

Is his self-appointed player-coach status perhaps affecting his composure?

According to the unnamed “coaches” who were text messaging Stephen A. Smith last night, either David Blatt or Kevin Love will have to go.

“i’m telling you what was said to me in the arena last night, whether it was by fans, whether it was by other folks that are officials for both respective teams, or whether it was coaches literally texting me on my phone — because you know i get my text messages — they were literally saying, ‘it’s coming down to one or two scenarios. either david blatt is going to have to go, and you’re going to have to get somebody in here who could coach on this level against these nba coaches, meaning being familiar with what they do and how to combat it, or you’re going to have to get rid of kevin love and get somebody in here that can play on both sides of the ball.’ you’re going to have to do one or the other if you’re david griffin, dan gilbert, and the cleveland cavaliers.”

Last December, word was that Cavs associate head coach Tyronn Lue was poised to takeover in the event the team didn’t turn things around — which they eventually did — so my money’s on Blatt getting the boot, simply because that’s an easier fix than trading a max contract in the middle of a season. (But hey, that doesn’t mean we can’t go out to the garage and rev the ol’ Kevin-Love-to-Boston trade rumor machine, right?)

The “First Take” clip, below…

UPDATE:

— We were right. Blatt was fired and Lue was promoted on Friday afternoon, according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. Feels good to be right for once.

— Brian Windhorst is reporting that the decision to relieve Blatt of his duties after 143 games did NOT come from LeBron James.

— Though LeBron may not have personally asked the Cavaliers’ front office to replace Blatt, his agent may have.

Jake O'Donnell

Jake was hatched from a large egg in 1999, fully formed. His hobbies include sports, writing, and accumulating hobbies. He considers his body is a temple. A very oddly shaped temple. (@_jakeodonnell)