CLEVELAND (AP) – Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said David Blatt will remain the team’s head coach and that no change will be made.
Griffin, speaking to reporters before Sunday’s game against Dallas, called scrutiny about Blatt’s job status “ridiculous” and said he isn’t giving the rookie head coach a vote of confidence because “he never needed one.”
Griffin also took issue with reports that LeBron James, who is sidelined with knee and back soreness, is unhappy with Blatt and said the narrative about the coach’s job is over.
“It’s a non-story,” Griffin said. “Coach Blatt is our coach. He’s going to remain our coach.”
Griffin disagreed with the idea that James isn’t supporting Blatt, talk that began in earnest last week. When the four-time MVP was asked if Blatt was the right coach for the team, he said. “Yeah, he’s our coach, I mean, what other coach do we have?” Pressed about endorsing Blatt, James said, “Listen man, I don’t pay no bills around here. I play.”
Griffin pointed out that James made positive comments about Blatt during that media session .
“I heard the entire audio file of LeBron James’ comments,” Griffin said. “No more than three different times he said, ‘we are growing together every day, the team grows together every day and I am happy with who we have at the helm,’ But that wasn’t a sexy pull quote so we kept looking for something else until we could pull something that sounded negative,” Griffin said. “That narrative is done. No change is being made, period.”
The Cavaliers, considered one of the favorites to win the NBA title when the season began after James returned to Cleveland and the team traded for All-Star forward Kevin Love, are 19-14 and sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
Griffin said he knew going into the season that the Cavaliers would be under intense scrutiny and added, “We’re like traveling with the Beatles.”
Griffin hopes James, who is scheduled to be examined again by team doctors Wednesday, will return during the team’s upcoming West Coast road trip.
“If it was up to him he’d play tomorrow,” Griffin said. “The guy’s a warrior.”
Blatt said James did not attend Sunday’s game and will not make the trip to Philadelphia for Monday night’s game on advice from the team’s medical staff.
Injuries have been a factor for the Cavaliers. James missed his fifth game Sunday and center Anderson Varejao is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Kyrie Irving won’t make the trip to Philadelphia for Monday night’s game because of lower back tightness that forced him out of the game Sunday.
Love, Shawn Marion and Matthew Dellavedova have also missed time with injuries.
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