San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich now knows who will be on the other side of the sideline when he handles substitutions for the West All-Stars on Valentine's Day in Toronto. It's the Cleveland Cavaliers coach — just not the same one he faced when his San Antonio Spurs met up with them less than two weeks ago.
[Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
The NBA announced Wednesday night that new Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, who took over for the fired David Blatt on Friday, has been named as head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Lue received the honor when the Cavs beat the Phoenix Suns 115-93 on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena, clinching the conference's best record through January 31, the cutoff for choosing All-Star coaches. The 32-12 Cavs are now 2 1/2 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors, the All-Star Weekend hosts.
The complication here is that Lue, previously Blatt's lead assistant, has been head coach for only three games as of this announcement and will have had the job for only 11 total games by the time of the All-Star Game. While Lue did play a meaningful part in the Cavs' 30 wins prior to his promotion, it's pretty weird to treat him as the coach with the most wins in the East. It's especially confusing when Toronto head coach Dwane Casey would have been such a natural replacement and given the league another opportunity to promote the Raptors.
Of course, the West had its own minor coaching controversy when it was determined that Luke Walton, interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors for their first 42 games, would not be allowed to take on the role for the All-Star Game in place of Kerr. Popovich then earned his spot in Toronto because NBA rules do not allow a coach to participate in the event in two consecutive years, a rule that perhaps indicates just how little the league cares about who takes on the job.
The result is that neither All-Star team will feature the coach responsible for the most wins in each conference. Just imagine the consequences. Why, the game could devolve into a bunch of ill-advised alley-oops and and a series of poor defensive efforts without these august leaders on the bench!
- - - - - - -