Bulls game with the Cavaliers gets more interesting after Blatt Firing
CHICAGO – There is a game on Friday for Fred Hoiberg’s Bulls team, but that’s not the one that people are going to talk about.
As if their match-up with Cleveland couldn’t be anymore publicized on Saturday with the game already slated for national television, the storyline got a giant twist on Friday afternoon.
In a stunning move which has caused league-wide reaction, the Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt. This came just 12 hours after they beat the Clippers at home to improve to 30-11 on the season, which is good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference by 3.5 games.
It also comes just a year-and-a-half into Blatt’s coaching tenure with the team in which he took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals and had a total record of 83-40.
Assistant coach Tyronn Lue will take over the job permanently and according to reports has already signed a three-year deal.
The Bulls will be Lue’s first game as an NBA head coach when the team tipoff at 7:30 PM on Saturday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he becomes only the third in NBA history to take over for a coach who took his team to the finals in the previous year.
Oddly enough the Bulls have some recent and distant history to moves similar to the one the Cavaliers have made. After losing to Cleveland in the second round in the playoffs in 2015 the Bulls fired head coach Tom Thibodeau despite a 50 win regular season and a .647 win percentage in five seasons with the franchise.
Communication issues were cited by the Bulls for the firing of Thibodeau, but this wasn’t the first time such a move has happened with the Bulls.
In the late 1980’s head coach Doug Collins moved the Bulls up one round in the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, including an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 1989. Despite that the Bulls decided to fire Collins that summer and, like the Cavaliers, replace him permanently with head coach Phil Jackson.
The move was a success as Jackson led the Bulls to a unprecidented six championships in the 1990s.
Will the same happen for Lue in Cleveland? We’ll the Bulls will have a front row seat to his debut on Saturday in a situation they can understand.