Cleveland Cavaliers interim coach Larry Drew has agreed to a contract to remain interim head coach for the rest of this season — and receive a partially guaranteed deal for the 2019-20 season, league sources told ESPN.
Drew and the Cavaliers have been negotiating a solution to the issues that surrounded his reluctance to accept the interim role without receiving more guaranteed money than the customary bump up in assistant-coaching salary that Drew will get to finish out this season.
Drew and his agent, Andy Miller, were able to get a deal for the 2019-20 season that can be terminated for a buyout figure if the Cavaliers decide to conduct a search and hire a new coach, league sources said.
The Cavaliers’ preference likely will be to conduct a search and target a coach to direct the franchise’s rebuild, but Drew has the trust and respect of the Cavaliers veterans and remains essential to get them through what promises to be a trying season.
Drew is 1-2 since replacing Tyronn Lue, who was fired Oct. 28 after an 0-6 start to the season.
Drew was 8-1 as the interim coach a year ago while Lue was sidelined with illness. He led Atlanta to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as head coach, and he spent one season as Milwaukee’s head coach in 2013-14.
Lue led the Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals, including the 2016 NBA championship. He was 128-83 on the job. Cleveland’s ownership and management had hoped the team would compete for a playoff spot this season, although it was unrealistic with the hole left by the loss of LeBron James in free agency.