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 19, 2021 | 1:07 pm EDT Update
According to a source, Brooklyn’s Blake Griffin asked a Celtics player if he should join the team midseason and was told not to come to Boston because of the apparent dysfunction. At season’s end, multiple sources close to the players said several members of the locker room were welcoming a coaching change, noting Stevens did not appear to hold key players accountable, with complaints he was favoring Smart over others.
Walker maintained his professionalism throughout the season but his health issues, the team’s poor performance and boos from TD Garden fans — something that particularly “pissed him off,” according to multiple sources — made him sour on his situation in Boston and had spoken privately about being willing to move to a new team. It had become clear he was not going to be in the team’s long-term plans.
While Walker’s struggles might have made him seem like a disappointment relative to his role and salary, he was still good last season. He is well-liked, known for his geniality and positivity. According to multiple team sources, there was some dysfunction in the locker room, with the relationship between Stevens and Walker characterized as tension-filled. Sources also suggest that Stevens was also perceived to be harder on Walker than on other top players.
Several team sources felt Stevens was more aggressive with certain players this season, which included Walker who was criticized for his defensive mistakes. Those sources said Walker and Stevens began to butt heads, though the pair were considered to have a productive working relationship and mutual respect for one another.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the market to hire a new head athletic trainer after injuries ravaged their 2020-21 season. Nina Hsieh, promoted to head trainer two years ago, did not have her contract renewed, sources told ESPN.
L.A. let Marco Nunez go in April 2019 after three years at the helm after a season in which Lakers players lost 212 games because of injury. Before Nunez, Gary Vitti served in the role for more than 30 years. More changes are expected as the team is in the process of restructuring its approach to player health, sources told ESPN.
June 19, 2021 | 12:07 pm EDT Update
Malika Andrews: Nets Jeff Green, in part, on what he expects from Kevin Durant in tonight’s Game 7: “He’s been carrying us and I believe tonight won’t be no different. He’s going to go out there and play his heart out and put us on his back and lead us to the win.”