– Christian Fuentes (Sport Journalist for Metro PR)
For starters, every star athlete on a franchise has power. There’s no question he or she has a lot of input into player personnel movements. How much can they actually have? I actually happen to think that star athletes should have plenty of power inside the franchise. Remember, this is the face of that franchise and if you’re building around said athlete, then he or she should have a say in terms of building the team. How much is too much? This comes in the aftermath of so many speculations as to whether LeBron James had anything to do with the firing of head coach David Blatt. I, for one, DO NOT buy the fact that LeBron didn’t have anything to do. He hasn’t sounded sorry for the dismissal of the reigning Eastern Conference champion coach. There is no doubt in my mind that he signed off on giving Blatt the pink slip. Cleveland is putty in James’ hands. He left once already, so if they don’t adhere to his every wish, he’ll skip town again. That’s where I’d draw the line. James has TOO much power in his franchise. The only reason they didn’t can Blatt in the middle of last year is because he was GM David Griffin’s guy. He was hired before #23 came back to town. He left Miami because he knew he had the power over Cleveland to let him build the team and get ALL the credit if they won it all. That wouldn’t happen in Miami, because he has to live with the Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley helped him win” fine print. Star players can’t be heard over the decisions of the front office. They should be consulted and made part of recruiting pitches to get free agents to join them. I don’t even have a problem if they suggest things like lineup changes, roster improvements, or other things. But asking to fire the coach or trade a specific guy is just stepping out of bounds. Did LeBron ask to fire David Blatt? We don’t know for a fact. Each one of us can only guess as much as our education lets us. But no player should have that type of power over his or her franchise.
– Darío Vázquez
There is an eternal debate on who should have the power over a sports franchise. Is it the owner who signs all the checks or is it the star who moves all the money from the fan’s pockets to the owner’s bank accounts? This topic has been in the middle of every sports media outlet after the Cleveland Cavaliers fired coach David Blatt. What did he do to get fired? Take Cleveland two games shy of a championship and currently lead the Eastern Conference by a comfortable margin. Oh, let’s not forget being blown out by the defending champs on their home court (as pretty much every other team has). To add the icing on the cake, there was a report claiming the team’s superstar LeBron James was not consulted in the process of dismissing Blatt. This raised eyebrows all over the NBA scene since it is well known that James is and wants to be involved in every move the franchise makes. James doesn’t want to be seen as a franchise player but as THE franchise player if I make any sense. From asking the Heat to pick Shabazz Napier in the draft, to pushing Cleveland to make a move for Kevin Love, James has always been vocal about what he wants or not on his teams. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but to what extent should a player have control or power over a team? I firmly believe superstars should have a say on how a team operates on the court because the success of the franchise coming game time lives and dies with them. LeBron certainly isn’t the only player who has a voice of opinion on his team and you can argue that they know more about the game than owners who in most cases are just successful business man who happen to be fans of the game. But players come and go and there are no guarantees they will stick around (James already left Cleveland once). Whenever a star player retires, another one gets drafted and teams will continue to operate long after a superstar retires. To give a player absolute power or control over a franchise can be hurtful to the reputation the front office for the future and situations like what happened with Blatt are usually frowned upon on the league. What if LeBron leaves Cleveland next year? The Cavs would be the joke of the league. Was Blatt the right coach to take that team to the promised land? Maybe, maybe not. Was Blatt the reason they got demolished by a far superior team? Absolutely not. You would expect a player like LeBron to back his coach and have the team be accountable for the loss. The fact that he didn’t do it makes you wonder if he had something to do with this regardless of what the reports claim. We will never know if LeBron really wanted Blatt gone but I do know one thing. If LeBron has the power to influence this type of moves, then he should carry the blame for all of the team’s shortcomings.