The news of David Blatt’s firing on Friday surprised many across the NBA, catching several of the league’s head coaches off guard.
“It’s a shocking day,” Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said during his pregame media availability on Friday evening, later adding he was “embarrassed” by Blatt’s dismissal. "I know integrity. I know knowledge,” Carlisle continued. “David Blatt is going to be a sought-after coach."
In Orlando, Magic head coach Scott Skiles offered a short quip of the same tone. “Back in my day, you use to have to at least lose games before you got fired,” Skiles said before Orlando hosted the Charlotte Hornets.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens commented on how unstable head coaching jobs have become in the NBA.
“Obviously, we talked about it when Lionel [Hollins] got fired last week, there’s a lot of really good coaches in this league. It’s probably not the most secure profession to choose,” Stevens said before the Celtics hosted the Chicago Bulls. “But David Blatt did a heck of a job and he won a ton of games. His team got all the way to the Finals—a team that had to change the way they played to get there.
“I would think he’s not going to be unemployed long,” Stevens continued. “He’s a heck of a coach.”
Moments after, Bulls coach Hoiberg praised Blatt, revealing a intimate anecdote. “Last year at Iowa State, he welcomed me into his training camp. I went there and sat in his office. He talked to me, gave me film on a bunch of stuff. He went out of his way to really show me a lot of the things they were doing and had success with and gave me DVDs,” Hoiberg said. “I really I hadn’t met him before that. Just a really good person and I think a hell of a basketball coach. It’s a tough day. He was great to me when I got into this league.
Hoiberg did recognize the extenuating circumstances revolving Blatt’s job.
“When you take over a job where a championship is what you’re shooting for and the way your roster’s built, there’s always extra pressure,” he said.
Before his team faced the New York Knicks, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers noted his mixed emotions about the turn of events, citing his close relationship with Tyronn Lue. “Blatt’s a heck of a coach and he’s done a heck of a job,” Rivers said. “He just, he had the most scrutinized job you could possibly have. I think the reward for coaching LeBron is you get scrutinized. It’s hard.”