LeBron: 'I have the right to call plays'

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- LeBron James says he has "freedom" to call plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the course of a game, and coach David Blatt says that the superstar dictating the action is business as usual.

"I don't think that's peculiar," Blatt said after Cavs practice Wednesday. "When the game is going on and you are in the heat of the battle at times, you can't get a message through or you don't want to stop the flow, so a guy may [call the play on his own].

"We have sets that we know what we're going to use going in. You know, we have a package that we're going to use going in and at times, according to the flow of the game, somebody may call out a play. I don't think that's unusual."

James and Blatt were responding to questions about the Cavs' offensive play calling, a topic that gained attention Wednesday following a recent ESPN podcast that featured commentary on their player-coach relationship in Cleveland.

Speaking on "The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons" on Tuesday, ESPN's Brian Windhorst discussed James' increasingly prominent role in the Cavaliers' play calling this season, saying that the four-time MVP regularly calls plays before Blatt relays the call to the rest of the team.

James has been open about the influence he has over the Cavs' offense this season. Back in December, he shifted from his more traditional small forward position to point guard for a spell and said, "I can do it on my own. ... I'm past those days where I have to ask," explaining that he didn't consult Blatt about the change.

James elaborated on his leeway to call plays Wednesday.

"Well, we have a package," James said. "If I see something, I have the right to call plays. Kyrie [Irving] does as well. We kind of do that play calling. Coach Blatt does the play calling obviously throughout the game in timeouts, but it's great to be able to have some type of freedom out there with Kyrie to be able to call sets that we feel best suit our team."

To wit, James spent about 20 minutes after practice Wednesday going through offensive strategy on the court with assistant coaches Tyronn Lue, Jim Boylan, Larry Drew and player-development coach Phil Handy and led the group as they walked through offensive sets.

"It's just I have a feel for the game," James said. "I know what helps our team, and we got great minds. Our coaching staff are great. I thank them that they allow me to give some input on what I think we should do at times, but ultimately it's their call. So, it's great to be able to just get different sides of the game with some of the great minds that we have."

Blatt, who was named the NBA's Eastern Conference coach of the month for March on Wednesday, was asked if he encourages James to assume the responsibility for play calling.

"Yeah, especially when it works," Blatt quipped. "No, but I mean, again, it can happen and it's not an all-the-time thing, but it certainly can happen."

James will get the chance to implement his offensive ideas Thursday against his former team, the Miami Heat. The Cavs are currently the No. 2 seed in the East and the Heat are No. 7, meaning the teams would face each other in the first round of the playoffs if those positions hold.