Windy: Cavs must make up their mind about direction

Cavaliers lead assistant coach Larry Drew will serve as acting head coach during contract negotiations.

Following the dismissal of head coach Tyronn Lue, it’s time for the Cleveland Cavaliers to decide whether they want to go through an entire rebuild … or try to make the playoffs, according to ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst.

“I know it sounds simple,” Windhorst said on The Jump. “But they had this summer to make a decision whether they were going to play with the old guys, the legacy players from the championship, or they were going to go with their young guys. They gotta make a decision which it’s going to be.”

The Cavs fired Lue after an 0-6 start in which they trailed by at least 16 points in every game. That included a 22-point home loss to the lowly Atlanta Hawks.

As an aside, they promoted lead assistant Larry Drew to replace Lue — and Drew has refused to wear the “interim” tag as his agent tries to restructure his contract.

But whether it’s Drew or someone else doing coaching, the Cavs have to make a firm call on their direction, Windhorst said.

“Who is going to play?” Windhorst asked. “And if they are going to play the young guys, maybe it’s time to start moving the old guys out of there. Because you’re going to have a problem for that new coach, and for the young players, if the old guys who were already told they were going to be a part of this aren’t going to play.”

Cavs GM Koby Altman met with reporters Monday and indicated the team wants to win, but is figuring out how to best go about that.

“The second thing they need to do is they have to make sure this coach, whoever it is, has the backing of the organization,” Windhorst said. “They all have to be one equal voice on this. Because if you’re the players, you’re going back and forth, like, ‘Wait a minute. You said I was going to play. Then we had a meeting and you said I wasn’t going to play. Now I’m going to play again?’ There’s got to be one voice.”

Windhorst continued.

“Part of this situation is Larry Drew has been screwed over in the past,” he said. “He was the coach of a team, the Bucks, and they traded for Jason Kidd to be their new coach. They pulled him into a meeting and said, by the way Larry, we’re going to have to fire you. I don’t blame Larry Drew for one second.

“Secondly, there’s a history here that (team owner) Dan Gilbert, when it matters, will write the check. He’ll say he doesn’t want to write the check, but at the end of the day, whether it’s trades at the trading deadline, or coaches or whatever, he always writes the check. Larry Drew and his agent are very well aware of this.

“So they have got to make a stand as an organization of who they’re going to be, and they can do that with this coaching hire.”