The Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach Tyronn Lue Sunday after the team’s worst start in franchise history.
Even though Lue had led the Cavs to three NBA finals in a row, at 0-6 it became clear that he was not the person to reshape Cleveland for a post-LeBron era.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to pick up the pieces after LeBron James left the franchise for a second time and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Everyone expected a rough transition, but no one anticipated a winless start for the Cavs.
Without James, the Cavs have the second-worst defense in the league, allowing 118.3 points per game.
On Sunday morning, Cavs general manager Koby Altman called Lue into his office and fired him. The Cavs promoted assistant coach Larry Drew as the interim head coach.
Altman and Lue butted heads over the direction of the team. Altman wanted to focus on younger players, while Lue wanted to stick with veterans. Altman preferred rookie guard Collin Sexton, the Cavs #1 draft pick from Alabama, get more playing time over the likes of veterans Kyle Korver and JR Smith.
“My time here in Cleveland was special. I am very grateful for the dedication, sacrifice, and support of the players on our team, and the tremendous coaches I worked with and of course the incredible fans,” Lue said in a public statement about the team’s new directions. “Lastly, deep thanks to Dan Gilbert, David Griffin, and Koby Altman for the opportunity over the last three years and I only wish the organization success moving forward.”
Cavaliers Fire Another Finals Coach
Lue played with seven NBA teams over his 14-year career as a journeyman point guard. He finished with a 128-83 record as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, plus a 41-20 record in the playoffs.
In 2016, Lue led the Cavs to an NBA championship in his first year with the Cavs. David Blatt was fired mid-season after 41 games. Blatt led the Cavs to an NBA Finals berth in 2014, but they lost to the Golden State Warriors.
Blatt and LeBron James didn’t see eye-to-eye and management removed Blatt in favor of Lue, who many believe was hand-picked by James himself.
Although Lue led the Cavs to the finals the last two season, the Cavs lost both times to their Western Conference nemesis, the Golden State Warriors.
In the history of the NBA, four head coaches were fired abruptly in the season after leading the team to the NBA Finals. Two of them coached the Cavs with Lue and Blatt. The other two were Byron Scott with the New Jersey Nets in 2003 and Gene Shue with the Philadelphia Sixers in 1977.
LBJ and Love React
Kevin Love, center for the Cavs, responded with an Instagram post of a photo with Lue. Love wrote, “You helped me see the big picture. Life changing experiences and teaching points. Nothing but love and admiration. Know we will work towards something greater together again. THANK YOU.”
LeBron James wished his former coach good wishes on social media.
T Lue thanks for the memories and more importantly our partnership bringing a ? to that deserved city/fan base. U know how to find me ??
— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 28, 2018