EditorsNote: Overhauls with team making it official, statements from all parties
The Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach Tyronn Lue and promoted assistant Larry Drew to interim head coach on Sunday, general manager Koby Altman announced.
“This was a very difficult decision,” Altman said in a statement, a day after the team dropped to 0-6 with a loss to the Indiana Pacers. “It is especially so, considering Coach Lue’s time with us over the last four years, including four straight trips to the NBA Finals. We have respect and great admiration for Ty, not only as a coach, but a person. We thank him for the many ways he has contributed to our success, wish him the best and he will always be remembered for leading a very special Cavs team back against the odds to win the title in 2016.
“This is a different team equation, though, and one that we felt needed a different voice and approach that required this change.”
ESPN reported Lue recently disagreed with Altman over the playing time of veterans Kyle Korver and JR Smith, opting to play them despite Altman’s preference that the team give more opportunities to younger players.
“My time here in Cleveland was truly special,” Lue said in a statement to The Undefeated. “I am very grateful for the dedication, sacrifice, and support of all the players on our team, the tremendous coaches I worked with and of course, our incredible fans. Lastly, deep thanks to (owner) Dan Gilbert, (former general manager) David Griffin and (general manager) Koby Altman for the opportunity over the last three years and I only wish the organization success moving forward.”
Lue posted a 128-83 record during his time with the Cavaliers, but all of the wins came with LeBron James, who left to join the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. The Cavaliers have also been hampered this year by a nagging left foot injury to star forward Kevin Love.
Lue originally took over as head coach midway through the 2015-16 campaign after David Blatt was fired, and went on to lead the Cavs to a title that season. He signed a five-year extension after the year and is still due around $15 million.
Drew went 8-1 as interim head coach of the team last year while Lue was absent tending to his health.
James thanked Lue on Twitter after the news broke Sunday, writing, “T Lue thanks for the memories and more importantly our partnership bringing a (championship) to that deserved city/fan base. U know how to find me.”
Love added on Instagram: “You helped me see the big picture. Life changing experiences and teaching points. Nothing but love and admiration. Know we will work toward something greater together again. THANK YOU.”
—Field Level Media