Former Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was inarguably an instrumental part of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ stunning championship in 2016, as well as their successive Finals appearances against the Warriors. With all due respect to former coach David Blatt, Lue’s ascension to head coach had a revitalizing effect on the Cavs, in no small part because of his close relationship with LeBron James. The trust and respect that came with it helped the rest of the team fall in line and become a more close-knit unit.
But in the aftermath of LeBron’s departure to Los Angeles, the team quickly parted ways with Lue last season after just six games. It’s no surprise that Lue still has some mixed feelings about how it all went down, and in an interview with Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the current Clippers assistant coach expressed that he wishes he was still at the helm in northeast Ohio.
Via The Athletic:
“Yeah, I do,” Lue said, after a full 12-second pause to consider the question. “What I tried to build there, I think the culture I tried to set … I thought we could do it together. Koby (Altman) being a young GM, me being a young coach, having young players. I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years. To win a championship and go to the (NBA) Finals should buy you a little time, you would think.”
Lue, 42, is now an assistant coach under his friend and mentor, Doc Rivers, with the LA Clippers. They host the Cavs on Tuesday in Lue’s first game against his old team.
Lue did raise the point that it’s exceedingly rare that a coach is able to lead a team to the kind of run of success that Cleveland had during his tenure only to get fired, and went onto say that getting fired, “puts everything in perspective. You’ve got to continue to keep working, it’s a business — you’ve got to understand that. It was tough.”
Lue was nearly reunited with LeBron in Los Angeles last spring as the Lakers had pegged him to take over as head coach, but those negotiations eventually fell apart due to the team reportedly low-balling him with their offer. Lue and the Clippers will host the Cavs at home on Tuesday.