Cavaliers reportedly fire coach Tyronn Lue, a former Husker, after 0-6 start without LeBron James

Cavaliers reportedly fire coach Tyronn Lue, a former Husker, after 0-6 start without LeBron James
Former Husker Tyronn Lue was reportedly fired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Tyronn Lue didn’t make it through the season’s first month.

The Cleveland Cavaliers fired their coach Sunday and named assistant Larry Drew interim head coach. The Cavaliers are off to a 0-6 start without LeBron James, who left this summer for the second time in his career and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent.

Lue, an All-Big 12 guard for the Huskers who had his jersey retired last year, guided the Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2016 — Cleveland’s first pro sports championship since 1964 — and helped the team to four straight finals.

“We thank him for the many ways he has contributed to our success, wish him the best and he will always be remembered for leading a very special Cavs team back against the odds to win the title in 2016,” General Manager Koby Altman said in a statement. “This is a different team equation, though, and one that we felt needed a different voice and approach that required this change.”

Assistant Damon Jones also was fired. A former Cavaliers player, Jones had been promoted during the offseason.

Lue issued a statement in which he thanked owner Dan Gilbert, former General Manager David Griffin and Altman.

“My time here in Cleveland was truly special,” Lue said. “I am very grateful for the dedication, sacrifice and support of all the players on our team, the tremendous coaches I’ve worked with and of course, our incredible fans.”

Players appeared to be caught off-guard by Lue’s dismissal. All-Star Kevin Love, who has missed the past two games with a sore left foot, posted a message to Lue on Instagram.

“You helped me see the big picture,” Love wrote. “Life changing experiences and teaching points. Nothing but love and admiration. Know we will work towards something greater together again. THANK YOU.”

Love also posted a photo of him and Lue hugging on the court after the Cavaliers rallied from a 3-1 deficit and won Game 7 of the 2016 Finals over Golden State.

James also expressed gratitude toward his former coach on Twitter.

“T Lue thanks for the memories and more importantly our partnership bringing a (championship) to that deserved city/fan base,” James said. “U know how to find me.”

The 41-year-old Lue has three years left on a five-year, $35 million contract that he signed after Cleveland won the title. He went 128-83 in three-plus seasons.

Drew filled in when Lue stepped aside for 10 games last season while dealing with chest pains, insomnia and anxiety. He came to Cleveland as an assistant in 2014 after serving as head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks (2013-2014) and Atlanta Hawks (2010-2013).

The Cavaliers were hoping to remain competitive without James, but they’ve been overmatched. They dropped their sixth straight game on Saturday night to Indiana and are off to their worst start since losing their first seven games in the 1995-96 season.

Cleveland has trailed by at least 16 points in all six losses and the club has yet to lead in the second half. The Cavs have also been plagued by poor defense and communication issues, and has looked disorganized at times.

The Cavaliers host Atlanta on Tuesday night. Led by rookie Trae Young’s 35 points, the Hawks clobbered the Cavs by 22 points in Cleveland’s home opener last week.

The Athletic first reported Lue’s firing.

Lue also won an NBA championship as a player with the Lakers, sharing the court with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

In three seasons at NU, Lue became the school’s ninth -leading scorer all time and was top 10 in 13 other statistical categories. He led the Huskers to the 1998 NCAA tournament and helped win the 1996 NIT before being a first-round NBA draft pick upon leaving a year early.

We strive for accuracy. Report a typo, inaccuracy, or mistake here.

Share: