Champion Cavs give coach Tyronn Lue contract extension


By Tom Withers

AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND — Thrust into an awkward situation in January, Tyronn Lue finished on top in June.

On Tuesday, the affable coach was rewarded for the greatest run by a Cleveland team in more than a half-century.

Lue was given a multiyear contract extension with the Cavaliers, who promoted him halfway through a season that ended with a historic comeback and NBA championship.

A former assistant, Lue took over when David Blatt was fired in January and led the Cavs to an unexpected title, the city’s first pro sports team to win it all since the Browns in 1964.

Terms of Lue’s extension were not immediately disclosed. The AP and other media outlets reported an agreement on the extension Monday.

Cavs general manager David Griffin, who approached Lue about the job after dismissing Blatt on Jan. 22, credited the coach’s steadiness in helping the team win.

“Ty took over our team under very trying circumstances and his calm, confident approach was invaluable as we found our way to success,” Griffin said. “His vision, leadership and tactical acumen were fundamental to us reaching our goals.”

After replacing Blatt, who was canned despite taking the team to the finals in 2015 and getting them off to a 30-11 start, Lue immediately changed the team’s offense. He felt the Cavs were best when they pushed the ball up the floor, and Lue was able to better incorporate star forward Kevin Love, who was a forgotten man in Blatt’s system.

As a former player, Lue knew when to be tough and when to ease up on his players.

“The opportunity to continue coaching the Cavaliers and this very special group of players is tremendous,” said Lue. “I am extremely appreciative of the effort and commitment that (owners) Dan Gilbert, Jeff Cohen, Nate Forbes, and David Griffin showed in extending my contract.”

During the playoffs, Lue became the first head coach in league history to win his first 10 postseason games. The Cavs overcame a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.

Lue became the fourth-youngest head coach to win an NBA title and the third to win a championship after taking over a team mid-season, joining Pat Riley (2006 and 1982) and Paul Westhead (1980).

Lue joined the Cavs as an associate head coach in June 2014. Before he was with Cleveland, Lue coached on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics.

The 39-year-old Lue played 11 seasons in the NBA, with 554 career games. He played on title teams with the Lakers in 2000 and 2001.

By Tom Withers

AP Sports Writer

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