The Cleveland Cavaliers named Larry Drew as their interim coach after they fired Tyronn Lue on Sunday following the team’s 0-6 start. He led the Cavs to their first win of the season last night, a 136-114 pasting of the Atlanta Hawks. Drew has asked for a restructured contract and guarantees if he’s going to take over the rebuilding team, but as of Tuesday evening, the Cavaliers had not given him any.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Wednesday morning that talks between the Cavs and Drew have had no traction and the sides could be headed for a stalemate. Before Cleveland hosted Atlanta, the 60-year-old Drew said “there are no updates, which I’m very disappointed about.” Drew said he assured the Cavaliers he would remain professional during the negotiations.
“We’re actually kind of just weighing our options on [it not working out],” Drew said. “I really hope that we can get something resolved, but moving forward, I know there is a possibility that it may not be resolved.
“I would never quit. I won’t do that. As I said, I remain professional and will continue to do my job. I was told that there could be a possibility of them just bringing in somebody else to finish out the year and then I can move back into my original position as an associate head coach.”
Drew said the Cavaliers have told him it’s possible they’ll bring in a full-time replacement for Lue. If that happens, he would slide back to his assistant’s role. Per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Drew is looking for more money and job security before taking on a bigger role full time. Fedor also reports that bringing in a new coach from the outside is not the Cavs’ preferred route.
“Obviously LD has been a veteran coach. He knows what he’s doing,” Tristan Thompson said after Tuesday’s win. “T Lue has learned a lot from him, being his mentor. We knew with LD coaching you’re going to get an experienced coach who’s been in the playoffs and has won a lot of games. He’s been a great game manager and you saw that when he went (9-1) last year. I know that we’re in good hands with LD coaching us right now.”
Aside from the Drew issue, the Cavs have ones to figure out in regards to veteran guards J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski report Smith was informed yesterday that he would be removed from the rotation and not receive guarantees about playing time. Smith did not play in last night’s game vs. Atlanta.
In addition, ESPN reports the Cavs may be looking to deal Korver this season as well. Here’s more from Wojnarowski and Windhorst on those situations:
Smith was upset by the news and considered taking some time away from the team, sources said. Smith decided to stay for the time being …
Meanwhile, the Cavs have initiated testing the trade market for guard Kyle Korver in the past several days, sources said. There was some trade interest in Korver last summer, and the Cavs are circling back on those talks.
Two games into the season, Smith and Korver were told they would be out of the rotation, sources said. Then-coach Ty Lue reversed that decision and elected to reinsert them into the lineup. The team lost its next three games, and Lue was fired.
The Cavs could become more active in looking to trade other veteran players in the coming weeks, sources said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.