The answer for the Cavaliers was easy. David Blatt should get a championship ring.
Not necessarily because he earned it. (He did.) But because the organization would simply look bad if they turned their back on the man who originally oversaw their on-court reclamation project.
There are plenty of other reasons the team should have given Blatt some hardware, but the simple perception of the organization makes it a no-brainer.
For Blatt, his willingness to accept the ring is another thing.
Many will say that the front-office turned their backs on the coach after the locker room had done the same, despite his apparent ability to lead the team to the highest stage. Though the latter notion is often countered with the thought that the weak East and the loaded roster made the path a formality.
But there is much more to consider, earlier in the story of the Blatt-Cavs marriage.
Dan Gilbert and David Griffin presented Blatt with the opportunity he had possibly waiting for since he broke into coaching, to finally coach an NBA team. Blatt was faced with a complete rebuild with young players as his learning curve to become a successful coach at the highest level.
When LeBron James announced his intention to return to Cleveland, Blatt’s original job description turned from basketball instructor and motivator to a leader of men with some of the biggest egos and personalities he had ever seen. This was not the case, to that degree, during his two decades overseas.
Still, when the objective went from instruction and growth to win now at all costs, Blatt still got his opportunity, as star-crossed as it may have been from the jump.
Now, as he returns overseas at the helm of Turkish club Darüşşafaka S.K., the one-time Euroleague Champion will part with more than just the lessons he learned from coaching the world’s greatest player, and the greatest athlete the sport has ever seen.
The man so often credited for being a genius knows that even failure can be profitable, that is, if he even views the venture as a failure. As a coach, it is not the first time he will put his ego to the side, and as a coach, he can use this symbol to prove mettle to his players, as well as give them a shining glimpse of the bigger picture.
Just because he put himself (albeit unknowingly) in the first line to be used as a scapegoat and was unable to see his goal through to the end does not mean he was not an integral part of the team’s championship run.
Whether or not he was only a rallying point that united disgruntled egos or the ground-layer for many of the concepts that helped win the title is not up for debate. To think that Blatt did not teach LeBron or any of the eventual NBA champions anything that helped win a title would be reductive and ignorant.
Blatt put up with enough he didn’t bargain for behind closed doors, he should accept his ring with the same wide smile, swallowing his pride as he had to so many times.
The same reason he was hired is the same reason he knows he is deserving of inclusion in the celebration. He does not need a lavished ring to show for it, but Blatt will probably have plenty of use for it, just as he has reason to accept.