Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr on the news that Cleveland fired Tyronn Lue: “It’s always sad when you see a fellow coach get the axe like that this early in the season.”
Cleveland needed a player's coach who had earned LeBron James' respect and spent plenty of time around some of the NBA's finest. His resume gave him credibility. It allowed him to challenge James and some of the other vets. He built trust that Blatt lost. The bold stroke by then-GM David Griffin ultimately led to the Cavaliers' first NBA championship a few months later. The Cavaliers still feel Lue -- labeled an "incredible coach" by a source that spoke with cleveland.com Sunday afternoon -- would be an ideal fit for a roster loaded with experience, perhaps one capable of competing for a championship immediately. Just not the Cavs -- a team that's trying to strike an incredibly difficult balance between the present and future.
After a tough decision, one the organization knows will be panned given how early it is into the season and Lue's stellar mark as head coach, the Cavs parted ways with him early Sunday morning, one day after another double-digit blowout loss at home. They also fired assistant coach Damon Jones. Lue handled the news in a very professional manner, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
According to a source, the Cavs had grown frustrated with the overall lack of competitiveness, believing the roster is more talented than it has displayed. In all six losses, the Cavs have trailed by at least 16 points. They have yet to lead in the second half of a game. Four of the six losses have been by double figures. "We have radically underachieved and it was unacceptable," the source said.
The Cavs announced the firing and Drew's appointment in a statement Sunday afternoon. “This was a very difficult decision," Cavs general manager Koby Altman said in a statement. "It is especially so, considering Coach Lue’s time with us over the last four years, including four straight trips to the NBA Finals,” said Altman. “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."
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman fired coach Tyronn Lue on Sunday, sources told The Athletic. Lue, 41, is the only coach in Cavs history to win a championship. He has three years left on the five-year, $35 million contract he signed after guiding the team to its 2016 Finals victory, and leaves the only head coaching job he’s ever had with a record of 128-83. ... Altman called Lue into his office Sunday morning and fired him. Lue did not argue with Altman, a source said.
The team’s players were informed immediately thereafter. A source told The Athletic the players are “pissed.” Lue’s a player’s coach who is partial to veterans, and his partiality toward them might have played a role in his dismissal.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Cavs practicing soon -- with GM Koby Altman expected to tell players that Larry Drew is the team's voice today. Altman and Dan Gilbert wants Drew to accept interim coaching job -- with possibility of a longer-term appointment later. Drew is hoping for a longer commitment now.
Joe Vardon: Cavs' players are 'pissed' over Lue's firing, sources tell me. You're seeing it play out on social media. bit.ly/2OdTD9s
Adrian Wojnarowski: Ty Lue had approximately $15M left on his Cavaliers contract, league source tells ESPN.
The decision to fire Lue is peculiar despite the winless start. Lue, who has three years left on his five-year, $35 million contract, took the team to three consecutive NBA Finals. He is known as a players’ coach and his track record suggests he deserved more than six games with a team, especially considering he was on the sidelines for Cleveland’s best seasons. But owner Dan Gilbert has a history of coaching and front-office dismissals. Since Gilbert bought the team in 2005, the Cavs have had seven head coaches, including Mike Brown twice – his second stint lasting just one season. Altman is Cleveland’s fifth general manager during Gilbert’s ownership.
Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman fired coach Tyronn Lue on Sunday, sources told The Athletic.
Adrian Wojnarowski: After firing Ty Lue, Cleveland planning to promote Larry Drew to interim coach, sources tell ESPN. Management meeting with Drew now.
Kevin Love: 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. 🏆
June 15, 2021 | 11:37 am EDT Update
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green are among the initial commitments to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics this summer, sources tell The Athletic. Lillard, who turns 31 on July 15, will be playing in his first Olympics after dropping out of consideration for the 2016 Rio Games, where the U.S. men’s team won its third consecutive gold medal. Green, 31, was a part of the 2016 team, which finished the tournament 8-0.
Stevens interviewed Celtics assistants Jay Larranaga, Scott Morrison and Jerome Allen and plans to broaden the search to include Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham and Billups, a person with knowledge of the process told USA TODAY Sports. ESPN reported the Celtics wanted to interview Nets assistant Ime Udoka, Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley and Bucks assistant Charles Lee. Coaching insiders indicate the Celtics will hire externally rather than promoting from within.
Lillard, a six-time All-Star and face of the franchise, may not have the final say in who is chosen. But it’s prudent for Olshey to get his input as the Blazers make an important hire as Lillard enters the first year of his four-year extension in 2021-22. Allen wanted the list to include women candidates, and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon will interview for the job, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about candidates. The Blazers also received permission to speak with South Carolina women’s coach Dawn Staley.
For the past few seasons, people from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to former WNBA and G League coach and NBA assistant coach Nancy Lieberman said a woman will be hired as a head coach soon. How soon is soon? In an interview last season with USA TODAY Sports, NBA president of league operations Byron Spurell said, “We want it to happen organically, and when the right opportunity matches the right person, this will happen. We just feel we’re so well positioned. If it happens tomorrow or the next day or this season or a few seasons away, we’re really close. But we’re not putting a timetable on it.” Lieberman told USA TODAY Sports: “It’s right in front of us. It’s going to happen.”
Hammon has put in the work. She runs portions of practices, writes game plans and scouting reports for opponents and delivers the intel to the team and works with players on individual development. “Becky’s in a spot now where she’s in a position of power,” Spurs guard Patty Mills told USA TODAY Sports. “She’s able to direct guys on what to do and that all comes from work ethic and what she does behind the scenes and getting herself and our team ready for games. She is an NBA coach who knows her (expletive) and gets it done.”
During an appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s “Grant and Danny” show with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Monday, Barkley discussed how “politically correct people” are trying to ruin TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” The 58-year-old said he is only planning to work for two more years because of it. “You can’t even have fun nowadays without these jackas-es trying to get you canceled and things like that,” Barkley said, as transcribed by Edward Sutelan of Sporting News. “Just having fun, talking about sports. I’m trying to hang on for another couple years until I’m 60, and then they can kiss my ass. I’m only working until 60. I’ve already told them that. … We can’t even have fun anymore. We’ve had fun all these years, and now all of a sudden in the last year and a half, everybody’s trying to get everybody fired, and it really sucks.”