Larry Drew no longer needs to worry about being “voice” at Cleveland Cavaliers, the actor or any other atypical difference. He will simply be his head coach, the team announced Monday.
ESPN reported that Drew’s business to become a head coach extended at the end of this season and included a 2019-20 share guarantee.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Coach Drew to continue leading the team to court,” said Koby Altman, Director General of Cleveland in a statement. “He provides significant experience and many qualities that we expect to translate well with our act as head coach. “
Drew, who has cited the team’s transitional defense as its biggest weakness, told reporters before Monday’s game that it was to take time to fix the ship.
“Tonight’s game, chances are we’ll make the same mistake as we did our latest game,” said Drew. “We must continue to show them on film, we continue to practice and go through it. It will not happen overnight.”
Complicated things are the extended absence of Kevin Love, the team’s most prominent player left from their four-year run of the Eastern Conference Championships. Love was an average of 19 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.5 helping a game to start the season, but he has been out since he injured his toe in a loss for the net on October 24th. The injury required surgery, and he will not be re-evaluated for a return for another six weeks.
Drew, 60, has been with Cavaliers since 2014 and serves as assistant trainer for two years – including during the team’s championship race in the 2015-16 season before being promoted to associate head coach 2016-17. He coached the team to an 8-1 record during a medical absence of Lue last year and had previously been a head coach in Atlanta where he trained the Hawks to a 128-102 record in three seasons, and Milwaukee, where he coached Bucks to a 15- 67 record during 2013-14.
While Drew’s permanent campaign seemed quite likely after Lues’s termination, it had been a rather difficult arrangement so far. James, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, expressed his fears far away, believing that Lue had not had enough space to try to rebuild the team. Drew initially rejected the label as “interim” coach, which the team had given him. Drew said at the time of the change that he was “very disappointed”, the team had not yet restructured its contract and had hoped for guarantees before taking the aid to a rebuilding team.
Now that he has some certainty in the role, Drew, who played 10 years in NBA before switching to coaching in the 1992-93 season, has a chance to make his team own.
Love, for one, heartily supported the initial promotion after Luke’s firing and pointed out that Drew had done an excellent job of leading teams when Lue was out last year.
“I love what LD does,” said love. “I love the energy he gives, how specific he is in what he does, and he has been around this league, what 37 years, 38 years so I’m excited about it.”