Cavaliers, Larry Drew locked in strange stalemate over interim coaching position

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a bold move on Sunday morning, firing head coach Tyronn Lue after the team’s 0-6 start. It was not only the Cavs’ worst start in 20-plus years, but also the worst start in NBA history for a team coming off a Finals appearance. Still, it seems like strange timing, and players on the team are reportedly “pissed” about the decision.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s now more drama surrounding the decision. According to multiple reports, Larry Drew, the team’s choice to become interim head coach, has reservations about taking on the role without a long-term commitment. Now, nearly 72 hours after Lue’s firing, the Cavs and Drew are still locked in a strange stalemate over the interim coaching role. 

Drew coached the team in their first win of the season Tuesday night over the Hawks, but has not officially taken on the role of interim head coach, as he waits for further commitments from the team. Via ESPN:

The Cavs told Drew they might bring in a new head coach from the outside, but the team has not yet been aggressive in hiring one, sources said. Drew, who is one of the league’s highest paid assistants at nearly $1 million this season, is seeking an adjustment to his contract that would guarantee him additional money in return for assuming the interim job. His deal is up in July.

“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.”

This is an interesting situation, because both sides have a point. It’s understandable that Drew wouldn’t want to take over as interim head coach — a move that will likely lead to his firing at the end of the season — without getting extra money or a longer term extension. But for the Cavs, it’s hard to commit to Drew long-term without seeing what he does with the roster, especially considering that Drew hasn’t exactly been a successful head coach in his previous stops. 

Most disappointing about this, though, is that it’s just another moment of unnecessary drama and dysfunction in Cleveland. No one — from ownership, to the front office, to the coaching staff and the players — seems to be on the same page there. And while they obviously need to find a lot of talent, solving the chemistry issues throughout the organization is the first issue they need to figure out. 

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