During the last time that LeBron James won an NBA championship, he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Tyronn Lue serving as the team’s head coach. Three years later, there could be a real chance that the four-time MVP and his former Cavs coach will be reunited, as a new report suggests that Lakers management will be meeting with Lue on Friday to discuss the team’s current vacancy at head coach.
Citing unnamed league sources, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on Friday that the meeting between Lue and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is set to take place at an unspecified Southern California location. Aside from Lue, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams was mentioned as another potential candidate for the Lakers’ coaching job. The expectation “on both sides” is that Pelinka will be having a second meeting with Williams in the “near future” to follow up their initial talks, which were held in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Likewise, Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard is also reportedly set to be interviewed by the Lakers as they continue their search for Luke Walton’s replacement at head coach. No further details were disclosed by Wojnarowski’s sources, but it was noted that Howard was one of Pelinka’s teammates at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s. Prior to becoming an assistant coach, Howard also teamed with James on the Miami Heat toward the end of his 19-year NBA career.
ESPN story on Ty Lue meeting with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka today in SoCal --- and an expectation that Monty Williams and Lakers will talk again. https://t.co/2bbg9WLS7c— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 19, 2019
According to Bleacher Report, Wojnarowski’s new update on Tyronn Lue came one week after the ESPN NBA insider called him the “strong frontrunner” for the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coaching vacancy. Prior to taking the reins from David Blatt in Cleveland midway through the 2015-16 season, Lue served as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Cavaliers. As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Lue also has previous ties with the Lakers, having suited up sparingly for the team in the first three seasons of his 11-year NBA playing career.
As the Cavaliers’ head coach, Lue led the team to the NBA Finals three times and gave them their only NBA championship in 2016 after helping them come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors. He was fired by Cleveland after the Cavs got off to a 0-6 start in the 2018-19 season, giving him a 128-83 win-loss record with the team.
Despite Lue’s past championship history with LeBron James, a previous report from The New York Times suggested that there are some people within the Lakers who do not see him as the best candidate to win the team’s coaching job. On Tuesday, Marc Stein wrote that these unnamed individuals are concerned that hiring Lue could be a case of “giving LeBron too much control,” hence Monty Williams’ status as someone who may have a “stronger-than-expected” chance of filling the vacancy.