CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers are not bringing back coach Larry Drew for a second season, the team announced Thursday.
Drew led the Cavs to a 19-57 record; he took over when Tyronn Lue was fired Oct. 28 after an 0-6 start.
The team said it reached a mutual decision with Drew.
“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,” general manager Koby Altman said in a statement.
“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 was praised by players for guiding them through an injury-filled season, the club’s first since LeBron James left as a free agent. Altman will now hire the Cavs’ fifth coach since 2013.
Drew, 61, had been with the Cavs since 2016, when he was brought to Cleveland by Lue. The team won the NBA title in Drew’s first season on Lue’s staff.
“I am very proud of what we accomplished over the last several years together and will always cherish our championship,” Drew said in a statement. “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.”
When he replaced Lue, Drew knew the Cavs might go in another direction at some point and asked the team to restructure his contract.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.