Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith said Monday that former head coach David Blatt’s firing was shocking to him, reports ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“I was shocked,” Smith said. “I haven’t been a part of that many first place teams. That’s just something you wouldn’t think about, the coach being fired. It was kind of shocking to me.”
Blatt was fired on Jan. 22 despite leading the Cavaliers to a 30–11 record and the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Smith went on to call his former coach “a great person” and said that he believes Blatt’s coaching run in the NBA is not over.
“I mean, I think he’s a good coach,” Smith said. “I think he has an opportunity to get another job somewhere. I think somebody will give him a shot given the circumstances. I think before he took the [Cleveland] job, it was pretty much he was going to coach a different team until LeBron [James] and Kev [Love] and everybody came to the situation.”
After the firing, Cleveland replaced Blatt with former assistant coach Tyronn Lue.