The Cleveland Cavaliers are moving on yet again from another head coach.
Despite signing Larry Drew to a multiyear contract back in November — the second year was a team option — the Cavs and their coach have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced in a statement on Thursday.
“We have great respect and appreciation for Larry and the job that he did as the head coach of the Cavaliers for nearly the entire 2018-19 campaign. He brought professionalism, class and steady leadership both this past season and prior four years,” said Cavs general manager Koby Altman. “Larry and I had a productive discussion about this past season, the future of the franchise and the search process that we will shortly launch regarding the head coaching role. Larry respectfully declined to participate in the search process and will not be returning to coach the Cavaliers. All of us in Cleveland wish Larry nothing but the best going forward.”
Drew also made remarks concerning his departure.
“I want to thank Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, the entire organization, and especially our fans, for what has been a very special and rewarding time here in Cleveland. Koby and I had a good discussion following the season and have both decided that the best decision for each of us was that I would not return to coach the team,” said Drew. “I am very proud of what we accomplished over the last several years together and will always cherish our Championship. I also want to commend our players this season for the bond that they established, the way they approached their jobs and the hard work and growth they had every day. I am very proud of them and wish them the best as they continue to develop for the future.”
Drew went 19-57 with the Cavaliers after taking over the job once they fired head coach Tyronn Lue after an 0-6 start. While the players seemed to like Drew’s hard-nosed approach — Collin Sexton made major strides toward the end of his rookie season — Cleveland ended 2018-19 with a league-worst 10-game losing streak and had the worst point-differential in the league (-9.6 points).
As far as who the Cavaliers are looking at to take over their head-coaching void, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports there are several candidates, all of whom are up-and-comers with very little to no head-coaching experience.
“As expected, Cavaliers opening search for a new head coach. Cleveland plans to run a wide-ranging process, but expect experienced NBA assistants like Utah’s Alex Jensen, Portland’s David Vanterpool and Nate Tibbetts, Denver’s Wes Unseld Jr., to be among multiple candidates.”
Moving on from Drew means that Sexton and the Cavs’ other young players, such as Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, will have to adjust to a new coaching style and a new voice after growing under the tutelage of Drew.
Whoever it is that ends up coaching the Cavaliers in 2019-20 will be their fourth head coach in as many years. They will take over a team that will be drafting high in the 2019 NBA Draft lottery after finishing with the league’s second-worst record. They will also be expected to further develop Sexton following his surprising rookie campaign. Sexton finished the season averaging 20.2 points and 4.8 assists on 45.6 percent from the field during the month of April and finished with season averages of 16.7 points and 3.0 assists on 43.0 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc.