With LeBron James off to the Los Angeles Lakers, everyone knew the Cleveland Cavaliers weren't going to be as good this season. But as it turns out, things are off to an even worse start than people could have imagined. After starting 0-6, the team has reportedly fired head coach Ty Lue.
According to reports from The Athletic's Joe Vardon and Shams Charania, general manager Koby Altman made the decision on Sunday morning and has informed both Lue and the team.
Altman called Lue into his office and let him go, sources said. The Cavs are 0-6— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) October 28, 2018
Though the team has still not confirmed the news, Lue seemingly did so himself, releasing a statement to ESPN.
With Lue gone, the front office is targeting assistant coach Larry Drew as the interim head coach.
Through the first week-plus of the season, the Cavaliers own the second-worst defense in the league with a 118.3 defensive rating, and their 0-6 start is the worst in franchise history since the 1995-96 team lost their first seven games. Additionally, this is the worst start for any team coming off a Finals appearance, though obviously most teams who just lost the Finals don't lose the best player in the league.
Still, this is a bit of a surprise. It's not exactly Lue's fault that the team isn't excelling given not only the lack of talent on the roster, but the fact that Kevin Love has missed multiple games.
According to a report from Vardon, players are 'pissed' about Lue's firing, which might have come down to a disagreement between him and the front office over the direction of the team. Via The Athletic:
Altman called Lue into his office Sunday morning and fired him, and 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 may have played a role in his dismissal.
Altman and Lue have been at loggerheads over playing time and the general direction of the team since the start of training camp. While both men wanted to win this season rather than tank for a draft pick, Altman wanted Lue to give more playing time to the younger players acquired over the past several months.
While the Cavaliers will assuredly not lose all 82 games, it will be interesting to see where the team goes from here. It's clear that with Lue out, the focus will turn to the younger players. That will mean more losses, but it could also open up trade possibilities with some of the veterans on the team.
Most interesting, of course, is whether they will move Kevin Love, who signed a four-year extension with the team this summer, and will be the player other teams are most interested in acquiring.