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- The Cleveland Cavaliers are falling apart at the seams.
- After a 0-6 start, the team fired head coach Tyronn Lue, promoting assistant Larry Drew into the leading role.
- But the Cavaliers front office and Drew are reportedly already at a stalemate regarding how he should be compensated for his work.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are off to a rough start.
After losing their first six games of the season, the Cavaliers cut ties with head coach Tyronn Lue, who had helped lead the team to three straight appearances in the NBA Finals. While Lue could be held partially responsible for the team’s poor start, obviously the more glaring reason for the team’s fall from the top of the Eastern Conference was the departure of LeBron James.
In Lue’s stead, the Cavaliers promoted assistant coach Larry Drew to lead the team, and on Tuesday night he led the team to their first win of the season – a 136-114 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
But while Drew’s tenure got off to a winning start, his relationship with the Cavs front office is reportedly already strained. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski, Drew and the Cavaliers have already reached an odd stalemate regarding his future with the team.
The Cavaliers have not yet committed to Drew as their next coach long term, but they also apparently haven’t been especially active in their search for someone else to take over the position. Drew already makes good money as one of the highest-paid assistants in the league, but is hoping to adjust his contract to match his new role.
“There are no updates, which I’m very disappointed about,” Drew said Tuesday. “I’m going to be professional and I’m going to do my job. It’s been close to 72 hours.”
It’s obvious why neither side would want to budge on these negotiations – the Cavaliers would like to keep Drew around to do the dirty work of starting the team’s rebuild, but would rather continue paying him as an assistant. Drew wants to get paid, because his workload is now more rigorous than it was, and with his contract up in July, every passing week is a little leverage lost.
While the clear answer is for the Cavaliers to either pay Drew or hire someone else to be the interim head coach so Drew can resume his normal duties, Cleveland’s front office is likely fine with existing in this purgatory between choices for as long as possible.
The stalemate comes as the team is already working through what to do with the rest of its formerly critical role players, with J.R. Smith being taken out of the starting rotation and Kyle Korver reportedly on the trading block.
The first time LeBron James left the Cavaliers, the team fell off from a 61-21 record to a 19-win team. This time around, it could be even worse – and LeBron likely won’t be back in four years to save them from their tailspin.