Report: LeBron and Blatt don't have the best working relationship

All season long we heard rumors of LeBron James and people within the Cleveland Cavaliers organization being unhappy or dismissive of David Blatt as the coach. While Blatt likes to remind you he's not a rookie coach, the first-year NBA coach was hired to coach a very different Cavs team before LeBron decided to head back to Cleveland. Once he was thrust into the position of coaching a title-contending roster instead of a rebuilding project, there were questions about whether or not he was the right coach for LeBron's goals.

As the season went on, we heard rumors of Tyronn Lue being the real coach and LeBron not liking the way Blatt was running the team and structuring the schemes. Marc Stein of ESPN.com wasn't a fan of the behavior he viewed during the Finals when Stein was the sideline reporter for the broadcasts. He paints the picture of LeBron dismissing and circumventing Blatt's job as the coach:

I saw it from close range in my role as sideline reporter through the Finals for ESPN Radio. LeBron essentially calling timeouts and making substitutions. LeBron openly barking at Blatt after decisions he didn't like. LeBron huddling frequently with Lue and so often looking at anyone other than Blatt.

There was LeBron, in one instance I witnessed from right behind the bench, shaking his head vociferously in protest after one play Blatt drew up in the third quarter of Game 5, amounting to the loudest nonverbal scolding you could imagine.

Which forced Blatt, in front of his whole team, to wipe the board clean and draw up something else.

Even throughout the NBA Finals run, pundits and fans wondered if Blatt's job is safe. Could the Cavs possibly replace him after just one year coaching this team and either higher a big name for the sidelines or promote Lue to be the head coach? Throughout the playoffs, James publicly seemed to have much more tolerance for the job Blatt was doing and with the Cavs down so much talent due to injuries. That doesn't mean he's interested in having Blatt around long-term.

With Tom Thibodeau in the unemployment line and veteran coaches like Mike D'Antoni and Jeff Van Gundy always thrown around as possible coaching replacements, it's safe to say LeBron has options for whom he wants as the coach of the Cavs if it's not Blatt. It's also a fair question to ask if Lue would be more respected by James and players as the head coach or if he'd be a better confidant as the assistant players can go to when they don't like what's going on. That's a dynamic that can certainly exist on coaching staffs.

Regardless of what the decision will be for the Cavs and their sidelines moving forward, it seems to be a safe assumption that LeBron will have a big say in where the franchise is headed. He did the first time he was in Cleveland and that is unlikely to have changed with Cleveland now that he's back.

Is LeBron happy with David Blatt as coach? (USATSI)
Is LeBron James happy with David Blatt as coach? (USATSI)

CBS Sports Writer

Zach Harper likes basketball. Some would even say he loves it. He's also an enthusiast for everything Ricky Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Nic Cage, and has seen the movie Gigli almost three times. He's been... Full Bio

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