David Blatt's recent fire sent shockwaves through the basketball community. The Cleveland Cavaliers, the top team in the NBA's Eastern Conference, rid themselves of a head coach with a .728 winning percentage in 1.5 seasons with the team and signed assistant coach Tyronn Lue to be his successor. Lue inked a 3-year deal that will pay him $9.5 million. The impact of such a major change, is wide reaching and, has serious implications for Cleveland's player development and D-League strategy moving forward.
Currently, the Canton Charge sit at .500 (12-12) almost midway through the D-League season. The only player on the Charge with their draft rights retained by the Cavaliers is forward Dom Pointer. The Cavaliers have recalled and assigned just a single player in 2015-2016, Joe Harris. Harris was assigned to Canton five separate times this season before being traded to the Orlando Magic in early January. The move freed up an NBA roster spot many anticipate the Cavs will fill with a veteran looking to make a playoff run.
A head coach has a significant impact on a team's personnel decisions, but don't expect the Tyronn Lue regime to actively scour the minor league for talent. In his post-playing NBA career, Lue has never worked for a team that emphasized developing internal talent. He got his start as Director of Player Development with the Boston Celtics, a role he held from 2009-2013. Those four seasons were "win-now" for the Celtics with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen vying for a championship in almost every season. Lue then followed coach Doc Rivers and become an assistant on the LA Clippers' coaching staff in 2013-2014. Similar to Boston, the Clippers had their sights set on championships. Prior to the start of the 2014-2015 season, Lue joined the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff under David Blatt. The Lebron James led Cavaliers would lose in the finals.
Lue has experience with incredibly talented teams and has coached during successful seasons, but none of those teams were home grown. The success of all three teams involved acquiring top-tier veteran talent via blockbuster trades or splashy free agent signings.
As the new head coach of the Cavaliers, Lue is in a familiar situation. He has the top-tier personnel he needs for the next three seasons and players with a "win-now" attitude. D-Leaguers like Joe Harris aren't on Lue's immediate radar. Canton isn't about to become a hot-bed for talent and development, but more likely a brief stop on the way back to Cleveland for an injured Cavalier and a place for young players with potential to play for a chance to crack the lineup somewhere other than Cleveland.