CLEVELAND -- Tyronn Lue confirmed to reporters after Friday's series-ending Game 4 loss in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors that he intends to return as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers next season.
Lue, who guided the Cavs to their first championship in franchise history after being elevated from associate head coach to the head coach midway through the 2015-16 season, when David Blatt was dismissed, has three years remaining on the five-year, $35 million contract extension he signed in the summer of 2016.
Lue, 41, took a nine-game medical leave of absence in late March through early April after suffering from chest pains and occasionally coughing up blood, and missed parts of two other games before that with the same symptoms. Lue later revealed to ESPN's Rachel Nichols that he is also taking medication to calm his anxiety.
"I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn't going to do that," Lue said. "I knew that even if I wasn't feeling 100 percent that I had to get back for the playoffs. 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 have to fight through it. That's what champions do. I gave everything I had."
When the Cavs fell on hard times in January and February, culminating with a 120-88 nationally televised loss to the Houston Rockets on Feb. 3 -- their 12th loss in 18 games at the time -- an anonymous Cavaliers official told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Lue's job was safe.
At halftime of Game 1 of the Finals, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert tweeted out additional support of Lue writing: "Ty Lue and [his] staff have stood in there with about as much noise and premature judgment that can be thrown at a coach and guided us back to the dance. Grinders and professionals. Proud of Ty and everyone on the entire staff."
In two and a half seasons as head coach of the Cavs, Lue has a regular-season record of 128-77 (.624) and a playoff record of 41-20 (.672).
Lue singled out nearly his entire coaching staff by name -- associate head coach Larry Drew, Mike Longabardi, Phil Handy, James Posey, Damon Jones, Vitaly Potapenko and Jim Boylan -- after Game 4 to show his appreciation for their contributions while he worked to get his health back in order.
"They did a hell of a job just holding it down until I got back," Lue said. "Even though I came back when I wasn't quite ready, I had to. 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.
"But I thought we did a good job of staying the course and getting to this point. I'm happy for the guys."
Lue was asked to share what he learned about himself as a coach this season.
"I can always get better," he said. "But I know I'm a tough guy. I pride myself on that. But just, I'm hard on myself a lot of times, but I've got to realize I've only been coaching for two and a half years, but it feels like 10 or 15. I can get better, and I'm going to get better. I just learned that you've got to stay the course in this profession. Anything can happen. We had plenty of chances to mail it in, to make excuses, and we didn't do that. I think it started with me, it started with LeBron [James], with just saying, 'No excuses,' and we are today."