Tyronn Lue Fired as Cavaliers Head Coach After Team's 0-6 Start to Season

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue calls a play during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, in Indianapolis. Indiana won 97-95. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Tyronn Lue's time with the Cleveland Cavaliers is over.

The head coach Sunday confirmed to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he was fired after a 0-6 start to the regular season:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN

Tyronn Lue statement obtained by @espn @TheUndefeated https://t.co/Cj7JdsYS12

Cleveland later confirmed its decision to part with Lue, noting Larry Drew has been promoted to interim head coach. Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported the news of Lue's firing, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reporting Drew's promotion.

Later on Sunday, Wojnarowski reported Drew "is willing to bridge the immediate coaching transition with Cavaliers, but so far is reluctant to commit to rest of season" unless there is a commitment beyond this year. Per Wojnarowski, "those talks are ongoing."

Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported Cavaliers veterans were "pissed" about the decision and noted Lue's partiality to veterans may have played a role in his firing.

Lue finished his two-and-a-half seasons in Cleveland with a .607 winning percentage and a 41-20 record in the playoffs.

He took over as Cleveland's head coach after David Blatt was fired midway through the 2015-16 season and helped lead the franchise to its first title with a dramatic 3-1 NBA Finals comeback against the Golden State Warriors.

The front office subsequently rewarded Lue with a five-year, $35 million contract extension, and the Cavaliers went 51-31 en route to their third straight Eastern Conference title.

The Warriors, however, exacted revenge in a tidy five-game Finals and reclaimed their throne as NBA champions in 2016-17 before repeating with a sweep of the Cavs in 2017-18.

Beyond the disappointing ending, last season proved trying for Lue on a personal level.

He took a leave of absence in March to address health concerns and returned in early April following a few weeks of treatment.

Questions understandably swirled regarding Lue's ability to continue to coach the Cavs, but he reiterated after the Finals that he intended to return.

"Yeah, I do," Lue said when asked if he planned to be back, per Vardon, then of Cleveland.com. "I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and ... I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn't going to do that."

The dynamic of the Cavaliers also changed this offseason, when LeBron James left in free agency to join the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving the Cavs with a younger, less proven roster.

The team has struggled to find its identity, and the front office will split from Lue amid the team's winless start.


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