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January 19, 2015 Updates

It wasn't long after the start of Brian Shaw's postgame news conference following the Nuggets' loss to Minnesota on Saturday night that Denver's coach pointed a finger of blame at himself. "I'll take some of the grief for trying to work Randy Foye back into the lineup and figure out when and who to play Jameer (Nelson) with as well," Shaw said. "I probably threw everybody off a little bit in terms of the rotational minutes that they had been playing, just trying to figure that out." Denver Post

January 18, 2015 Updates

Regardless of what they say now, the idea of parting ways with Blatt was absolutely discussed internally. But the organization dug in its heels and refused to cave to James. For months, I wrote and said on the radio that Erik Spoelstra always had the backing of Pat Riley, even in James’ earliest and orneriest days. I questioned (doubted?) whether Cavs owner Dan Gilbert would show Blatt that same support. To this point, to the surprise of many, he has. Akron Beacon Journal

Griffin’s passionate speech was an enormous risk. The Cavs lost six straight after that, with mixed levels of motivation and effort, and I wondered if Griffin inadvertently put a grenade in his own hand. After all, Gilbert has made emotional, reactionary decisions in the past. How could Griffin salvage any credibility now if Gilbert changes his mind? “I never would’ve said what he said,” one rival front office executive said in the days after Griffin’s bold move. “They would’ve had to fire me first.” Akron Beacon Journal

One respected NBA assistant coach even called here to insist Cleveland already had spoken to Mark Jackson about taking the reins, though Cavaliers sources vehemently denied the claim and were speculating on the source of the rumor. That aside, nothing short of winning — and winning big — is going to cool Blatt’s chair. LeBron James has missed nine games, Anderson Varejao is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon and general manager David Griffin’s trades have altered the rotation. Boston Herald

A team source said the club had essentially settled on Blatt in May when it believed it would be a young outfit in need of development. Having brought overseas teams a long way in a short time, he was seen as a perfect fit. Boston Herald

January 17, 2015 Updates

We reached out to a front office official from another NBA team, a pro scout and an agent to seek out unbiased — OK, outside — opinions. Their take? There is blame to go around. The roster is an ill-fitting disaster. While Jackson tried to take the pressure off of coach Derek Fisher, the scout pointed out, “I think Derek is responsible. They don’t guard at all. You can be competitive with a bad team.” No one is unscathed at 5-36. Bergen Record

"Phil is right — this is his fault,” said a scout. “He took this job like, ‘I’m here, everything will be great.’ And then he gave away the assets he had.” Jackson stripped down the roster and gathered precious few assets in return. That leaves the Knicks with a roster that has very few pieces any other franchise would want. “The value of these guys were decimated after what’s happening,” said a front office executive. “All the assets value was not there, not working, so he cleaned out. I know it’s easier to get rid of people. The next part is the hardest part, getting good players to come forward. This is a process and it’s not happening overnight.” Bergen Record

In the end, that possibility starts with this, too: the support of owner Dan Gilbert and general manager David Griffin, which has been sweeping and unimpeachable so far. "There is not even a thought of replacing him," one high-ranking Cavaliers official told Yahoo Sports. Yahoo! Sports

As Blatt gains confidence in his understanding of the NBA, his understanding of his own personnel, his voice has to rise over the noise and be heard. "I've deferred a little bit more than I normally have, yes," Blatt told Yahoo Sports. "I can do a better job than I've done with that. I have done less in the interest of trying to find the right way to reach guys. At the end of the day, it's probably not the [right] way." Yahoo! Sports

At times, would Blatt prefer to see James more engaged in timeouts and huddles? "I do," Blatt told Yahoo Sports. "But I've had players do that before. But the answer to that is just winning. This isn't a perfect world. This isn't utopia. In the NBA, it's different. Every glance, twitch, gets glorified and magnified. I just let it go. There's nothing I can do about it." Yahoo! Sports

Blatt's strategy seems simple: Over time, sell James – sell all these Cavaliers – on a vision for victory. "It is a process," Blatt told Yahoo Sports. "It really has to come first from the professional side. Man to man, we're OK. We don't go out drinking together, but we're fine man to man. But professionally, LeBron wants to win. And he wants from me, from any coach, a vehicle to help him win. "Sometimes, it's tougher. Sometimes, it's less so. He's one of the great players of all time. He's been in the Finals four straight years and five times overall. He's got his own opinions and he expresses them. At times, he can be stubborn. But what I know from him, what he wants from me, is a vehicle to help him win. And beyond that, nothing else is really important." Yahoo! Sports

Blatt delegated to Lue the authority to originate the call for timeouts when the staff deemed necessary. Of course, an assistant coach cannot call a timeout in the NBA. The suggestion Lue has been disloyal and undermining can be puncturing to a young coach's career, and Blatt had one word to describe the assertion: "Horse[bleep]." "Just like Doc [Rivers] gave the defense to Tom Thibodeau [in Boston], I did the same thing with Ty Lue when I brought him in," Blatt told Yahoo Sports. Yahoo! Sports

The team was reeling, coming off of losing its sixth straight game and a grueling practice was the anticipation. But what should have been a six-minute bus ride from their Beverly Hills hotel to the campus turned into 10, then 15, then a 20-minute ride. "I was like, 'Where are we going?'" Tristan Thompson recalled to Northeast Ohio Media Group. "I was confused." Head coach David Blatt had something up his sleeve. When the bus finally stopped, it was in front of a bowling establishment in Hollywood. To their shock, they learned practice was never in the plans. It was about getting away from basketball and bonding as a team. Cleveland Plain Dealer

The last three weeks have been an agonizing period for the team and especially for Blatt. That's why the players agreed that a few hours out on the town attempting to bowl strikes was a great call by Blatt. "I think it was a surprise for most guys," Kevin Love said. "It just helped so much. We all needed a break from it all." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Obviously, that approach won't work in the NBA unless one has a resume highlighted with a few NBA championships. In an interview with Northeast Ohio Media Group, Blatt elaborated on the notion that he's not operating as he did in years past. "There are different things, but does that mean that I'm personally different?" Blatt asked NEOMG. "I don't think so. It's a different game and a different environment and naturally there are going to be things that I will have to adjust to." Cleveland Plain Dealer

The play was to find Irving at the top of the key, but the Clippers were overplaying him. James instead zipped a pass to a cutting Tristan Thompson who finished a layup and was fouled. James immediately looked at the coaching staff and pointing in their direction as if he was commending them for drawing up such a beautiful, effective play. It was the first time James has outwardly shown any level of satisfaction or gratitude towards Blatt. Cleveland Plain Dealer

January 16, 2015 Updates

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