Tyronn Lue was surprised to be fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018 on the heels of three straight NBA Finals appearances.
Despite a 128-83 record and winning the 2016 championship, Lue was dismissed six games into a winless start to the post-LeBron James era.
‘Don’t think it should’ve happened’
Lue, who is now an assistant on Doc Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers staff, still thinks about it. And he doesn’t believe he deserved to be fired.
“I don’t think it should’ve happened,” Lue told The Athletic’s Joe Vardon in a story published Tuesday. “When it happened, I just kind of — it puts everything in perspective. ...
“You don’t see that very often where a coach goes to three straight finals and wins a championship and gets fired six games into (the season). You probably have never seen it.”
Lue took the rest of last season off from the NBA before interviewing for and turning down the Los Angeles Lakers opening in the offseason. Lue reportedly believed he deserved a five-year deal instead of the three-year contract the Lakers were offering and took issue with the team’s insistence that Jason Kidd be a part of the coaching staff.
Frank Vogel took the Lakers job, and now Lue is working for one of his mentors in Rivers.
Wishes he was still in Cleveland
Does he still wish he was the head coach of the Cavaliers? He does.
“Yeah, I do,” Lue told Vardon “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.”
The Cavaliers shifted quickly to rebuilding mode upon James’ departure to the Lakers. Lue wanted to keep rolling out veterans like Kyle Korver and Kevin Love, while management reportedly wanted to focus on the future and young players like then-rookie Collin Sexton.
The reported disagreement on philosophy and 0-6 start to the season added up to Lue losing his job.
With the Lakers thriving and Lue having turned down that prime head coaching opportunity, it’s a bit surprising to hear him admit that he still wishes he was coaching a talent-starved roster that’s off to a 12-28 start this season.
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