Tyronn Lue, who coached LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA championship in 2016, is widely expected to be a top candidate for myriad open coaching jobs this fall. However, teams that are considering him as a potential head coach may be looking at a package deal, as a recent report has suggested that former All-Star player and current broadcaster Chauncey Billups has been speaking with Lue about joining his next staff as associate head coach.
Both men are currently under the employ of the Los Angeles Clippers, with Lue working as an assistant to Doc Rivers and Billups serving as a commentator. The two are also longtime friends who shared an agent — Andy Miller — during their playing careers.
On Saturday, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that the 43-year-old — who was named the NBA Finals MVP in 2004 when he led the Detroit Pistons to the title — has diverted his attention from the pursuit of a front office role to making his entrance into the coaching ranks at the highest level of professional basketball.
“Teams are aware that Lue has been talking with Chauncey Billups about joining his potential staff as an associate head coach,” wrote Wojnarowski. “Billups had been grooming himself for a top front office role, but turned down the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017, and his interest in leaving television for the team-side has evolved from the front office to coaching, sources said.”
The report further assessed that owners and executives around the league hold a high opinion of Billups, believing that his intelligence, innate leadership abilities, work ethic and instincts could enable him to work for a franchise in either capacity. Wojnarowski also opined that an “apprenticeship” under Lue could fast-track the 17-year pro to his own spot on the sidelines in the future.
As shared previously by The Inquisitr, the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans have both relieved coaches of their duties in recent days, firing Jim Boylen and Alvin Gentry, respectively. Lue is considered a top candidate for both jobs, as well as the vacancy in Brooklyn with the Nets. Moreover, the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers are playoff-ready franchises that could nonetheless make a change following the season.
Before his retirement and subsequent transition to the broadcast booth, Billups played in 1,043 games for seven teams, averaging better than 15 points and five assists per contest, while making 39 percent of his three-point shot attempts. Along the way, he earned the nickname Mr. Big Shot as a result of his tendency to make timely baskets during high-pressure situations.
More recently, he participated in Ice Cube’s Big 3 league as a member of the Killer 3s.