The Cavaliers will be looking for a new head coach.
Cleveland will reportedly part ways with Tyronn Lue, according to Stadium NBA insider Shams Charania. Lue got off to a 0-6 start with the Cavaliers this season, leading to the decision. Lue will finish his tenure in Cleveland with a 128-83 record. He led the team to three straight NBA Finals appearances.
Lue was handpicked by the Cavaliers to replace David Blatt during LeBron James’ second season back in Cleveland. The Cavaliers were struggling under Blatt and management decided to go with Lue for the rest of the season. James surely had a voice in the decision and it paid off: Cleveland eventually made the Finals and came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the city’s first championship in 52 seasons.
After back-to-back Finals losses led to James’ departure, the Cavaliers stuck with Lue to lead what looked like a rebuild. However, Cleveland extended Kevin Love and it appeared management wanted to remain competitive due to a high salary cap number and uncertainty in its future draft assets. After a rough start to this season, the Cavaliers will have to change that plan.
The Cavaliers were able to land a lottery pick after trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics last summer. That pick turned into promising point guard Collin Sexton, but he’s only received 23.5 minutes per game as Lue preferred the veterans getting major minutes. Sexton’s development will be something the Cavaliers will focus on when looking for their next head coach.
At the moment, Cleveland will have Larry Drew lead the team. Drew is a veteran NBA coach, spending his first 18 years in the league as an assistant before getting the top job in Atlanta. Drew took the Hawks to three straight playoff appearances, but couldn’t get past the second round. He also had job with the Bucks, but lasted just one season after a 15-67 campaign.
Cleveland has a top-10 protected draft pick and the Cavaliers would like to keep that in an effort to land another prospect to build around. Cleveland’s front office will certainly look to deal its veteran players in an effort to recoup draft assets and open up playing time for the younger players. With Lue out, the message to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern conference likely goes out with him. The Cavaliers can now fully focus on rebuilding.
There will be opportunities to get back into coaching for Lue. He will likely take the rest of the year off before surveying the landscape once jobs open up. There’s the possibility he would have to take an assistant position before getting another head coaching job, but Lue should get the chance to lead a team down the road.
If the Cavaliers were convinced Lue wasn’t the coach to see them through the rebuilding process, this was the right move. It gives both parties a clean break and will now allow Cleveland to commit to a rebuild while Lue can explore new coaching opportunities.