LeBron James isn't leaving Cleveland in the offseason. Neither, it appears, is Cavaliers coach David Blatt, even though Blatt reportedly has lost James' respect, if he ever had it.

Blatt received a ringing endorsement from the man who hired him, general manager David Griffin, on Thursday, and Blatt himself said he "absolutely" expects to coach James and the Cavs next season.

PHOTOS: Classics of LeBron | Must-see from Finals | 17 unforgettable moments from '14-15 season

We have yet to hear from James about any of this, although Griffin tried to speak for him.

"LeBron himself said he thinks Coach has done a hell of a job," Griffin told reporters Thursday at a season-ending press conference, per "So if you want to use his actual words, that's what the man said."

Well, there's what James said, and then there's what he did on the court. ESPN's Marc Stein reported that James was repeatedly disrespectful to Blatt during the NBA Finals. According to Stein, James angrily overruled Blatt on play calls, called timeouts and made substitutions himself, and conferred with assistant coach Tyronn Lue while seeming to ignore Blatt.

James has not responded to Stein's report. Blatt tried to dance around it.

"He is a galvanizing player. He is our best player. He's the league's best player. He's a winner. He's a proven champion. I think it's important that he feels empowered and at the same time that he knows that he's very much a part of this team. And I think he's exhibited that, and always put the team's success beyond his," Blatt told reporters.

MORE: 15 facts that defined the NBA Finals

"Now if he has felt that he has what to say and wants to impose his will in terms of influencing in a positive way on those around him, that's a good thing. That's a good thing for all, and I certainly encourage that and certainly respected the fact that LeBron's heart was in the right place."

That's the smart play, to not antagonize James publicly when he can leave

as a free agent. (He won't leave, though, because staying will allow him to make maximum dollars in a couple of years.)

More important, Blatt is at the mercy of his superstar. James will continue to trust his superior instincts and basketball IQ after dragging an injury-ravaged team to within two wins of a title. Blatt gave him the freedom to do that last season; to take that away now in the name of establishing authority would be unwise.

About sh1

Previous post Cavaliers willing to trade Brendan Haywood, draft pick for upgrade, reports say
Next post Gilbert Arenas smashed up his car after ex lost his Netflix password