Things have gone about as poorly as expected for the Cleveland Cavaliers without LeBron James this year, and the bad start is costing head coach Tyronn Lue his job.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Cavs players were informed on Sunday that Lue will be let go in the wake of the team’s 0-6 start.
Cavs‘ roster has been informed of firing of Ty Lue, per league sources. Lue has been let go as Cavs head coach after 0-6 start to Cleveland’s season. https://t.co/b50Nxh91Br
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 28, 2018
Lue was facing a tall task this season with a stripped-down roster that had to figure out how to win without the best player in the game, so it seems like owner Dan Gilbert was looking for an excuse to fire him. It would be extremely difficult to judge any team after six games, let alone a roster like the one LeBron left behind in Cleveland.
Lue took over as the Cavs’ coach during the 2015-16 season, and he led the team to an NBA championship and three NBA Finals appearances. He finishes with an overall record of 128-83
The NBA is a “get wins or get out” enterprise. The business can be callous at times, spurning head coaches who have seemingly earned job security — a lesson Dwane Casey learned the hard way in May. It’s still hard to imagine Casey on the Pistons’ sideline.
It may seem ridiculous to already be speculating about which coaches could be fired this season, but the 2018-19 season is practically upon us, and before we know it, some team will be searching for a new leader. With the preseason already underway, here are 10 coaches on the hot seat.
10. Alvin Gentry, Pelicans
You could argue Anthony Davis’ impressive late-season surge saved Gentry’s job last season. The Pelicans won their first playoff series in the Davis era — an encouraging sign — but the Warriors quickly vanquished New Orleans’ momentum. This seems to be a pivotal moment for the franchise. The Pelicans didn’t have much spending money this summer, as the squad had already dished out hefty contracts to players like E’Twaun Moore, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik. The team allowed DeMarcus Cousins to bolt and signed bargain-basement assets Jahlil Okafor and Elfrid Payton, in addition to Julius Randle. The Pelicans are reliant on Davis sustaining MVP-level production; if he and Jrue Holiday crash back to earth early this season, however, GM Dell Demps — left with little flexibility to add another impact player — may opt to make a coaching change.
If Luke Walton needs some advice on how to coach LeBron James, he can look no further than James’ last head coach.
Speaking at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas on Saturday, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said that he was planning to meet over dinner with his Los Angeles Lakers counterpart (as well as Lakers associate head coach Brian Shaw) to discuss coaching The King.
“I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy,” said Lue, per Tania Ganguli of the LA Times. “People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach, it’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope.
“So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers,” he continued. “They’ll be able to handle it. LeBron is easy to play with, very unselfish. LeBron can bring guys along, make sure they’re doing the right thing. It’s going to be good. The outside is what you’ve gotta be able to block out.”
Lue coached James for four years in Cleveland (two as head coach and two as associate head coach). He also used to be teammates with Shaw on the Lakers during their playing careers, which may help explain his willingness to assist.
As Lue hinted at, the four-time MVP mostly takes care of the basketball part of things himself, but it’s the scrutiny that comes along with him that can create headaches for the rest of the team and coaching staff. We do wonder though if one of Lue’s techniques for coaching James would work as well for the Lakers.
Despite a disappointing end to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ playoff run, coach Tyronn Lue has no intention of stepping aside as the team’s head coach.
Lue said after Cleveland’s season-ending loss to the Golden State Warriors that he planned to be back next season despite the health issues he dealt with during the year.
Tyronn Lue said he intends to return as Cavs coach next season. He has three years remaining on his contract
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) June 9, 2018
Lue battled health issues late in the regular season, but was able to return and coach the entire playoffs without incident. His performance in the postseason was met with some criticism, but ultimately he got Cleveland to the Finals. Now we’ll see if he has LeBron James to work with next year.
- Tyronn Lue
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue isn’t worrying about J.R. Smith going forward, despite his massive blunder at the end of Game 1 of regulation.
Lue said Friday that he hasn’t lost confidence in Smith, and that he will start Game 2, believing he can shake off the mistake he made when he seemed to forget the score in the final possession of regulation.
Tyronn Lue defends JR Smith on a conference call saying, “JR can shake off anything,” and points out that had Smith not grabbed the offensive rebound off the missed free throw, the Warriors could have had a chance to win it in regulation.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 1, 2018
“He will start. And no, I haven’t lost confidence. JR (Smith) can shake it off,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 1, 2018
Smith and Lue couldn’t even get their stories straight on what actually happened. Lue knows it does Smith and the Cavaliers no good to keep talking about it, though, so he’s going to praise his player and try to move on as quickly as possible. The team has no other choice.
JR Smith seems to be trying to cover his tracks for his mental mistake at the end of Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
After George Hill missed a free throw, the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors was tied. Smith snagged an offensive rebound and then dribbled as if he thought the Cavs had the lead and he was running out the clock.
Video even appeared to show Smith explaining to LeBron James that he thought the Cavs were ahead rather than tied at 104.
“I thought we were ahead.” – JR Smith pic.twitter.com/OjCt4VMCEj
— Agent of NBA Chaos (@World_Wide_Wob) June 1, 2018
Alas, the game was tied and the mistake cost the Cavs a chance to try and win it. Cleveland got blown out in overtime.
After the game, everyone was asked about the play. Cavaliers head coach Ty Lue said Smith thought the team was ahead. Smith tried to cover his behind and tell everyone he knew the game was tied.
Ty Lue: "He thought it was over. He thought we were up 1."
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 1, 2018
Unfortunately for JR, most think he’s lying, and the video evidence is a big reason why. At least he gave us a funny meme with his mistake.
The Cleveland Cavaliers enter their NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors as heavy underdogs, but Tyronn Lue is maintaining his confidence.
Speaking with the media on Tuesday, the Cavs head coach warned against writing off his team.
“You can’t count us out. We’ve been in every possible position you can be in in the playoffs,” said Lue, per Rick Noland of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. “It’s not over till it’s over.”
For what it’s worth, Las Vegas lists the Cavs as +650 underdogs for the series, making them the biggest Finals underdogs since the then-New Jersey Nets in 2002 as well as the biggest of any LeBron James-led Finals team (per ESPN).
We know that the Warriors are feeling good about their chances heading into the series, but underestimating James and the Cavs will be at their own peril.