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Report: Cavs Players ‘Pissed’ Over Tyronn Lue Firing

Tyronn Lue J.R. Smith Cavs

The shocking dismissal of Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue on Sunday morning had immediate reverberations, with some players upset over the move.

The Cavaliers, who had reached the NBA Finals in each of the past four seasons, have begun the 2018-19 campaign by dropping their first six games. Assistant coach Larry Drew is now serving as interim head coach.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic described the process that culminated with Cavs general manager Koby Altman firing Lue and its aftermath:

“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.”

The source of the conflict between Lue and Altman was a disagreement connected to playing time. Lue wanted to continue to use veterans, while Altman favored a more developmental approach that focused on younger players.

Vardon pointed to what turned out to be the final straw in the fractured relationship between Lue and Altman:

“After two losses to open the season, Altman and Lue informed three veterans — JR Smith, Kyle Korver, and Channing Frye — that the organization was ‘going young.’ The Cavs then went out and were destroyed at home by the Atlanta Hawks, and after that game Lue decided to take control of his rotation and reinstall Korver and Smith.”

The 41-year-old Lue was in the third year of a five-year contract that he signed after leading the Cavaliers to the franchise’s first-ever NBA title. He took over the position in January 2016 after the Cavaliers fired former head coach David Blatt.

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