Larry Drew will not return for a second season as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers after he and the team mutually agreed Thursday to part ways.
“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,” general manager Koby Altman said in a statement. “He brought professionalism, class and steady leadership both this past season and prior four years.
“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.”
The Cavs finished 19-63 in 2018-19 as Drew took over after the firing of Tyronn Lue on Oct. 28 following the team’s 0-6 start. Drew was named interim head coach at first, before agreeing to a new deal on Nov. 5.
Drew, 61, previously was head coach of the Atlanta Hawks (2010-13) and Milwaukee Bucks (2013-14), and joined the Cavaliers initially as an assistant coach in 2014, then as the associate head coach. While there, the Cavaliers won their first NBA title during the 2015-16 season. He has been an assistant coach in the NBA for 23 seasons.
Drew went 8-1 as fill-in coach in the 2017-18 season while Lue was on a medical leave to deal with anxiety issues.
“I want to thank Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, the entire organization, and especially our fans, for what has been a very special and rewarding time here in Cleveland. Koby and I had a good discussion following the season and have both decided that the best decision for each of us was that I would not return to coach the team,” said Drew, who was an NBA point guard from 1980-91, playing for the Detroit Pistons, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers.
“I am very proud of what we accomplished over the last several years together and will always cherish our Championship. 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.”
—Field Level Media