Losing Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov in free agency wasn’t supposed to hurt much for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even LeBron James and Tyronn Lue’s lack of contracts to begin the summer wasn’t a big issue as well.
James and Lue are now locked with the defending champions for the next few years, leaving J.R. Smith as the only unsigned rotation guy from last season. But that doesn’t send panic signals to the Wine and Gold faithfuls either as it seems that his deal is only a matter of “when” and not “if”.
However, the first real trouble in paradise may have been brewing all along deep down the bench. According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the team’s assistant coaches are already reacting negatively to their respective contract stalemates.
“Frustration is at its worst regarding why they do not have contracts. Their contracts expired July 1. This affects Cavaliers assistant Damon Jones, Phil Handy, James Posey, Jim Boylen, and to a certain extent, Larry Drew.”
Larry Drew’s is another complicated scenario as the Cavs have already picked up their team option for this season on his deal, but that was based on his role as part of David Blatt’s staff. Tyronn Lue has been aggressively lobbying with the front office for these things to be cleared, and that also includes Drew who’s reportedly being eyed by Lue to become associate head coach.
Haynes said that the assistant coaches expected their situation to be ironed out after Lue got his own contract. Unfortunately, the waiting game plays on.