The Cleveland Cavaliers and assistant coach Larry Drew have no traction in contract talks, and the sides could be headed for a peculiar stalemate over an interim coaching position, sources told ESPN.
Drew said he was told the Cavs might bring in a new head coach from the outside, but the team has not yet been aggressive in hiring one, sources said. Drew, who is one of the league’s highest-paid assistants at nearly $1 million this season, is seeking an adjustment to his contract that would guarantee him additional money in return for assuming the interim job. His deal is up in July.
“There are no updates, which I’m very disappointed about,” Drew said Tuesday. “I’m going to be professional and I’m going to do my job. It’s been close to 72 hours.”
It is unclear how long Drew would be willing to act as coach without a new agreement.
“We’re actually kind of just weighing our options on [it not working out],” Drew said. “I really hope that we can get something resolved, but moving forward, I know there is a possibility that it may not be resolved.
“I would never quit. I won’t do that. As I said, I remain professional and will continue to do my job. I was told that there could be a possibility of them just bringing in somebody else to finish out the year and then I can move back into my original position as an associate head coach.”
While that situation plays out, the Cavs had to manage another issue on the team Tuesday with veteran guard JR Smith. For the second time this season, Smith was informed he would be removed from the rotation and not receive guaranteed playing time, sources said. Smith was upset by the news and considered taking some time away from the team, sources said. Smith decided to stay for the time being, but he didn’t play in Tuesday night’s 136-114 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Meanwhile, the Cavs have initiated testing the trade market for guard Kyle Korver in the past several days, sources said. There was some trade interest in Korver last summer, and the Cavs are circling back on those talks.
Two games into the season, Smith and Korver were told they would be out of the rotation, sources said. Then-coach Ty Lue reversed that decision and elected to reinsert them into the lineup. The team lost its next three games, and Lue was fired.
Korver remained in the rotation on Tuesday night but scored just three points in 15 minutes.
The Cavs could become more active in looking to trade other veteran players in the coming weeks, sources said.