Despite helping guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2015 NBA Finals in his first season, head coach David Blatt has been fired midway through his second season, according to reports on Friday.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst wrote on Twitter that there was "unrest growing in the Cavs locker room ... since almost day one." Cleveland made several trades and moves after the free-agent signing of LeBron James in the summer of 2014, prompting questions about the team's chemistry. The Cavaliers traded the first overall pick in 2014, dealt shooting guard Dion Waiters, and there have been recent trade rumors involving current center Timofey Mozgov.
Blatt complied a 30-11 record this season, and the Cavs are nine games ahead of their pace from last season. In 2014-2015, Cleveland finished with a 53-29 record and reached Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors despite missing star point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love.
Blatt, 56, was hired before the Cavaliers signed James, and had never served as an NBA head coach. He previously served had successful stints in Israel, Russia, Italy, Turkey and Greece.
Associate head coach Tyronn Lue has been promoted to replace Blatt, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. This will be the first time Lue has served as a head coach. The 38-year-old spent 11 seasons in the NBA, and retired in 2009.
It's unclear if the Cavaliers will keep Lue for the remainder of the season, or if he will maintain an interim coaching role. Should the Cavs consider searching for a head coach outside of the organization, there are some notable names who might be willing to take the high-profile job. Former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, as well as ESPN broadcasters Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy might be considered top candidates for the full-time position.