Despite all the drama that surrounded the Cleveland Cavaliers and head coach Tyronn Lue on and off the court in the 2017-18 season, Lue said he intends to return to the sidelines next year.
“Yeah, I do,” Lue said when asked directly about his plans. “I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season ... I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn’t going to do that.”
Lue missed two weeks near the end of the regular season as he dealt with health issues that included chest pains and coughing up blood. He later disclosed to ESPN that those symptoms were due at least in part to anxiety. In total he missed 10 games.
“I knew that even if I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent, I had to get back for the playoffs,” he said. “That’s my time. That’s my moment. I didn’t want to put our coaches in that situation. I didn’t want to put our players in that situation, and I had to fight through it. That’s what champions do. I gave everything I had.
“Then in my absence, Larry Drew and (Mike) Longabardi, and Phil Handy, (James) Posey, D-Jones (Damon Jones), Vitaly (Potapenko), Jim Boylan, they did a hell of a job just holding it down until I got back.”
Lue has been at the helm of the team for the last two and a half years, taking over during the 2016 season for the fired David Blatt. He led the Cavs to their first title in franchise history, and afterwards signed a five-year, $35 million contract.
He has amassed a 128-77 regular season record, and a 41-20 record in the playoffs. Since the Cavs overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Finals, however, they have gone just 1-8 against them over the last two years.
Still, despite all the adversity this year, Lue said that ultimately the year itself was still a special one.
“Even though I came back when I wasn’t quite ready, I had to,” he conceded. “That’s who I am. I’m never going to give up and never going to give in. I stayed the course and was able to have a pretty special year, outside of losing in The Finals.”