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Throughout the entire 2014-15 NBA season, reports were that LeBron James and his Cavs teammates were not on the same page as rookie head coach David Blatt. As dysfunctional as things were in the Cavs locker room, Blatt still managed to lead his team to the NBA Finals.
During the NBA Finals it was clear that James did not have Blatt’s back. The 2-time NBA Champion would make his own substitutions, check in or out whenever he felt, call his own timeouts and even turn down Blatt’s plays.
That is just what we saw.
Now there are more reports coming out confirming all of this and they do not make James look good at all.
I know this much, though: LeBron James is too brilliant as a basketball player, too truly great, to behave the way he did toward David Blatt during the NBA Finals.
We literally saw Peak LeBron and the corresponding LeBron nadir over those six gripping games with the Golden State Warriors. He had staffers from the 67-win Warriors almost quaking at night in fear of the havoc he was wreaking, such was his genius in controlling tempo and carrying a skeleton of a roster to a 2-1 lead that actually made you think the Cavs could win it all with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and his beloved Anderson Varejao all sidelined.
And we likewise saw LeBron emasculate Blatt in ways that are simply unbecoming of a player of James’ legend-in-the-making stature.
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.