I am a big Blatt fan. That said I think he has some responsibility for this firing. Not for the horrendous timing, but for the firing in general.
I think the CAVS are more wrong than right BUT here is what I would have told David Blatt if he was my client.
1. Audience decides your value not you. From the beginning Blatt, the team and the whole NBA had different perspectives on his experience. He thought he was not a rookie coach and the players consistently referred to him as a rookie coach. I would have told him to just suck it up, let them have their fun, look at it as a chance to establish a relationship, and then move on.
2. Have to manage effectively down the chart. Blatt had a reputation of being tough. Players talk on the bench while Blatt was talking, they were banished to the locker room. We were not privy to daily practice. I would have told him to be authentic to whom he is as a coach, even if he is coaching LeBron.
3. Have to manage effectively above you. A reminder that record alone won’t keep a CEO his/her job. Managing up is a different skill set from managing down. I would have asked Blatt, are you going to dinner on a somewhat regular basis with Griffin, with Gilbert? You have to have your own relationships with them, winning alone is not enough.
4. Be your authentic you. From the day you are hired, a coach a CEO, or an elected official there is a good probability you will be fired. I would have told him you need to lead as your authentic you whether that is nice guy or Hitler, emotional or ice man, be you.
5. At the end be gracious. Blatt released one statement and it was gracious. You never know when you will meet someone again, whether that someone is a player, staff or owner. I would have told him exactly what he did.
6. Doing well is the best revenge. The day after the firing Blatt was shopping in C-town. Good for him. The bad news is that most sane teams won’t fire a coach in mid-season so he will have to wait 6 months for another job offer. I would tell him to stay visible, stay on team’s radar screen.
Identify empty words. The new head coach suggested that Blatt come back and coach in the ALL-STAR game. Nice try. It is an NBA decision over which a coach has no say. LeBron said he did not have a part in the firing. Nice try. He ignored, dissed and outed Blatt in public. NOW he has no part. I would tell him to beware of the accolades after the fact. The General Manager told the team at their emergency meeting following Blatt’s departure.
“You don’t have to like it. But you will respect it.” It would have been nice if he would have said that about Blatt once in the last 12 months.