After working together for two and a half seasons, Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue and LeBron James parted ways this offseason. In free agency, the four-time MVP decided to leave his hometown team for the second time and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Lue admitted that losing an incredible player like James is “hard to swallow,” but he said that he respects LeBron’s decision.
In the NBA Summer League, Tyronn Lue saw LeBron James’ new head coach, Luke Walton, and the two former Lakers reportedly had a brief chat. According to Tania Ganguli of Los Angeles Times, Lue will be having a meeting with Walton and Lakers Assistant Coach Brian Shaw in Las Vegas this week to talk about basketball, including their new coaching challenges. As most people expect, one of the topics of their conversation is about the new Lakers superstar. Lue revealed some of the things he plans to say to Walton and Shaw about coaching James.
“I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy,” Lue said. “People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach. It’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope. … So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers. They’ll be able to handle it. LeBron is easy to play with, very unselfish. LeBron can bring guys along, make sure they’re doing the right thing. It’s going to be good. The outside is what you’ve gotta be able to block out.”
Having LeBron James on their team will not only be putting more pressure on his teammates but also on their coaches. Coaching James will be more challenging for Luke Walton since the Lakers only have him as their lone superstar, unlike in Cleveland where Tyronn Lue coached him with two other NBA All-Stars on their team.
Most of their free-agent targets like Paul George and Chris Paul re-signed with their respective teams before James made a decision, while the Lakers reportedly refused to give DeMarcus Cousins a cheap one-year deal. If the Lakers also fail to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs, Walton needs to figure out how to get the most out of the current talents they have to avoid disappointing James in his first season wearing Purple and Gold.
Asking advice from Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue will undeniably be a huge help for Walton, but he also needs to establish a good relationship with James. Since James signed with the Lakers, he never spoke to his new head coach, creating speculations about Walton’s future in Los Angeles.