Heat Co-Owner: LeBron James Tried To Get Coach Erik Spoelstra Fired

by NESN Staff

January 27, 2016

LeBron James is among those receiving blame for David Blatt losing his job as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Blatt was fired last week despite leading the Cavs to the NBA Finals last season, his first campaign as an NBA head coach. Cleveland also sits in first place in the Central Division entering Wednesday’s games.

James probably is the most influential superstar in the league, and it makes sense for the Cavs, at least on some level, to consult with him on potential roster moves as well as coaching decisions.

NBA.com’s David Aldridge reported Monday that some in Blatt’s camp blame James for Cleveland’s decision.

“One of Blatt’s supporters believe that Blatt’s firing was ‘1,000 percent LeBron,'” Aldridge wrote. “There is no question that in the Cavs’ grand scheme of things, James carried, and carries, the hammer. But multiple things can be true at the same time.”

According to Heat co-owner Raanan Katz, James wanted the Heat to fire head coach Erik Spoelstra, but team president Pat Riley was having none of it.

“With the Miami Heat, LeBron James — before and after his four seasons when his contract was up with the team — made it clear that he wanted to dump head coach Erik Spoelstra,” Katz said Tuesday on an Israeli sports talk radio show, as transcribed by Bleacher Report’s David Pick.

“At one point, (Heat president) Pat Riley called LeBron into his office said that no one will tell him how to run the organization. Riley told James that Spoelstra is his guy and that firing Spoelstra is out of the question. That was the main reason LeBron returned to Cleveland.”

It would’ve been fun to be a fly on the wall during that Riley-LeBron meeting.

Riley is an old-school guy and a seven-time champion as a coach and front office executive. He’s not going to cater to the demands of his players on important positions such as the head coach. Riley runs the show, and you have to respect his decision to oppose James and keep Spoelstra, who’s one of the best young coaches in the league.

It proved to be the right choice, too, as Spoelstra helped lead the Heat to four straight NBA Finals appearances from 2011 through 2014 and two championships in 2012 and 2013.

Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra react on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval and first baseman Hanley Ramirez
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