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The Cavaliers opening up their coaching search provides hope for the future

The Cavaliers opening up their coaching search provides hope for the future
Published On: Fri, Jan 25
Jun 22, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James celebrates during the NBA championship parade in downtown Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive time, theA Cleveland CavaliersA have completely fallen apart in the wake ofA LeBron Jamesa€™ exit to a warmer climate. The 2018-19 version had similar lofty aspirations to the 2010-11 team, though there was no promise of a quicker championship than James this time around, and have seen the team fall spectacularly short of those goals on the floor. Led byA Kevin LoveA (who signed a four-year extension before the season began) and rookie point guardA Collin Sexton, this edition of the Cavaliers had competitive internal expectations, most of which were not shared by the rest of the basketball world at large, but nobody saw them being quite this bad.

Lovea€™s absence for essentially the entire season hasna€™t helped matters, but ita€™s also difficult to see how he would have aided them in their quest to not be one of the worst defensive teams in NBA history. Head coachA Tyronn LueA was summarily fired after the team jumped out to an 0-6 start, before it was clear just how awful the 2018-19 team was going to be.A Larry DrewA stepped up out of his assistant role to lead the team this year, butA according toA The Athletica€™s Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon, hea€™s not long for the job, as management has already begun their search for the cluba€™s next head coach after Drew.

Should Lloyd and Vardona€™s reporting come true in the form of a hire this summer, the Cavaliers will have completed an important step in their rebuild: hire a young former assistant coach to lead their team through the abyss that is a multi-year downturn. The same tactic was undertaken in Philadelphia withA Brett Brown, who had previously spent many years in theA San Antonio Spursorganization, but had never had the opportunity to be the leader of an NBA team. Brown has flourished in the role, developing deep relationships with his players as those piled-up losses have turned into wins over the last two years. There is no quick fix, especially from the coaching staff, for a rebuild like the one in front of the Cavaliers, so ita€™s best to hire a young coach who can grow with the roster and keep them motivated through what will be the most difficult period of their careers.

That process is already underway in Atlanta, who decided to go into the tank last year in much the same way as Cleveland this year, though they held on to their veteran coach until after the season ended. The 2017-18 Hawks were in a similar abyss to the current Cavaliers, with very little upon which to focus other than Maya€™s draft lottery. Veterans were playing out the string on their time in Atlanta, knowing that greener pastures were imminent. The club had a few young prospects but was mostly laden with win-now players, as the team had been in the playoffs for a decade straight before bottoming out. This past offseason, Atlanta targeted a list that looks very similar to Clevelanda€™s: young assistant coaches around the league who could connect and grow with a rebuilding roster.

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