Hindsight is always 20/20 but even at the time, Koby Altman’s firing of Tyronn Lue may have been a bit premature by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers fired Tyronn Lue after the Cavs started 0-6 in 2018, many thought that was the right call. Many people can be wrong all at the same time it turns out. Despite his unceremonious departure in Cleveland, Lue was often still a vaunted and desired coach, leading up to him getting the opportunity to guide the Los Angeles Clippers to a possible title. With Lue now expected to right the ship that Doc Rivers lead astray, the pressure is on arguably more than ever before. Lue is considered a good coach to deal with and bring the best out of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard but not Collin Sexton?
Granted yes, the Cavaliers were in the midst of what some believed to be a “soft-rebuild” but that wasn’t the case. The team would bring in four rookies in two years and GM Koby Altman wanted a coach with a history of dealing with young players to come in and cultivate a winning culture with these young men. The pick to do that was John Beilein and his tenure didn’t go well.
The Cavs ended up having four, yes four, head coaches in two years. After Lue got fired, the Cavs leaned on Larry Drew to finish out the season. Then they went to Beilein and now to current head coach J.B Bickerstaff. Now Bickerstaff may be the guy for the Cavs, but he’s only been a head coach for two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, and he’s even younger than Lue, so there’s no guarantee there.
Looking at Bickerstaff, and seeing what he is as a coach as opposed to Lue, it’s not out of left field at all to say that the Cavs had no business firing Lue despite a tone change in expectations. Sure if they were going for a full rebuild, that makes sense, but the Cavs kept Tristan Thompson and re-signed Kevin Love while bringing in veterans after firing Lue. That’s not a rebuild.
Had Lue stayed, maybe the Cavaliers right the ship after an 0-6 record and contend for the playoffs. Maybe as a former point guard, he could’ve been a better mentor to Darius Garland. Maybe Lue was a better coach than ever got the credit for.
Maybe it’s time to start thinking about Altman’s tenure with the organization.