Report: LeBron James didn’t let Cavs teammates partake in pregame intros due to distrust of David Blatt

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers were so dysfunctional under David Blatt that LeBron James wouldn’t let his teammates participate in pregame introductions, according to a report.

The 2015-16 season was Blatt’s second as head coach of the Cavs, and he was fired before it ended.

“It was a broken team in the locker room with factions in each corner and James on an island,” The Athletic’s Joe Vardon wrote. “James was so tied up in knots through his distrust of Blatt that he wouldn’t allow his teammates to participate in pregame introductions.

“To fix all of this — to repair the locker room and pave the way for James to assert his dominance in harmony with a deeply talented roster — the Cavs turned to a rookie coach who didn’t want the job and a journeyman/reserve big man who could shoot 3-pointers.”

Blatt’s first season with the Cavs — the 2014-15 campaign — ended with a trip to the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors ultimately won the title in six games over Cleveland, but the first-year head coach had his team on the doorstep of a championship.

In Blatt’s second season at the helm, the Cavs again looked like contenders, as they were 30-11 under him. But evidently, the culture of the team wasn’t in a good place at all, leading to a change.

Blatt was fired and replaced by Tyronn Lue in January of 2016, and Lue was exactly what the doctor ordered for the team. He helped the Cavs earn the No. 1 seed in the conference, setting them up for an easy jog through the East side of the bracket.

Cleveland lost just two games against Eastern Conference foes in the playoffs before reaching the NBA Finals for a rematch with the Warriors. Cavs fans know exactly what happened in that series, with the Warriors taking a 3-1 lead before losing three in a row to James’ squad.

The Cavs were able to capture their first title in franchise history, and it came in unforgettable fashion.

After the 2015-16 campaign ended, Lue spent a couple more seasons with the organization before he was ultimately fired. Today, he’s the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, and he’s still trying to capture his first ring since 2016.

The Blatt era clearly didn’t end as planned for the Cavs, but it may have been a blessing in disguise given how the 2015-16 season turned out. Without a doubt, many folks in Cleveland wouldn’t trade that title for anything.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.