CLEVELAND — David Blatt’s second season with the Cavaliers ended long before they won an NBA title.
However, he’s been rewarded for his stay.
The former Cleveland coach accepted a championship ring from the team despite being fired midway through last season.
Blatt was dismissed when the Cavs were 30-11 and replaced by assistant Tyronn Lue, who guided the Cavs to an historic comeback in the finals to capture the first major sports championship by a Cleveland team since 1964.
Blatt told Israel-based reporter David Pick that he accepted the ring from the Cavs “because they presented it to me in a way that was very respectful.”
“The Cavaliers wanted to give me a ring because the organization felt that I contributed to the championship,” he said. “It’s not my championship, I recognize that, but I also feel that I did something there, and I graciously accepted because it was a gracious offer on their part. The big thing for me was that I felt that they felt that it was earned, not given, therefore I was happy to accept.”?
The Cavs confirmed that general manager David Griffin offered the ring to Blatt and he accepted.
After Cleveland defeated Golden State in Game 7, Lue said he hoped the Cavs would offer a ring to Blatt.
“That’s the first thing I said when we won, that we need to get coach Blatt a ring,” Lue said Wednesday night after the Cavs defeated Orlando in their exhibition opener. “I had to fight him a little bit. He didn’t want to do it. But he definitely deserves one. I’m glad he accepted it and I’m glad the organization is going to get him one.”
Cavs superstar LeBron James, who had an up-and-down relationship with Blatt, said he was behind the team’s decision.
“That’s an organizational thing and if that’s what they wanted to do, then we’re all for it,” he said. “Who am I to say who can or can’t get a ring?”
One of Europe’s most celebrated coaches before he was hired in Cleveland, Blatt, now coaching in Turkey, went 83-40 in his tenure with the Cavs.
The Cavs will get their rings and raise a title banner before the Oct. 25 season opener against New York.