A day after the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt and elevated Tyronn Lue to the prestigious position, Lue came out in support of the jettisoned boss' All-Star credentials.
According to Cleveland.com's Chris Haynes, Lue told reporters Saturday evening he believes Blatt should coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars next month in Toronto.
"I talked to P.J. Carlesimo about it this morning and I told him I think Coach Blatt should coach it," Lue said. "The NBA has been trying to work around some different things for the All-Star Game and he's done a great job here. We're first in the East and I think it would be sweet if Coach Blatt could coach the All-Star Game one last time."
Citing a source, Haynes added Blatt won't be able to coach in the midseason exhibition because "he's not a coach in the league."
As NBA.com's Steve Aschburner outlined, the league selects the coach from the team with the best record in each conference Jan. 31, unless he coached in the previous year's All-Star Game.
Since the Atlanta Hawks' Mike Budenholzer coached the Eastern Conference All-Stars in 2015, Blatt was close to securing the spot with the Cavaliers (30-11), who were three games ahead of the Toronto Raptors at the time of his dismissal.
While Lue appears to be in line for the gig, per Haynes, Yahoo Sports' Michael Lee offered an alternative solution:
Michael Lee @MrMichaelLee
How would that work, exactly? Why not make it Dwane Casey, since he would've won the most games of any East coach? https://t.co/IgFG2Dpjeq1/23/2016, 11:49:31 PM
ESPN.com's Ethan Strauss approached things from a different perspective:
Ethan Strauss @SherwoodStrauss
I keep hearing the All-Star game is "for the fans." Pretty sure the fans would love to see Blatt coach the All-Star game1/23/2016, 11:53:27 PM
With LeBron James confirmed as a starter in the Eastern Conference frontcourt, having Blatt return to the bench with his former superstar beside him would be awkward, to say the least.
As such, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey feels like a natural fit, should Lue seek to defer his potential appointment. Not only is Casey the boss of the host city's squad, but the Raptors also have gone 8-2 since the calendar flipped to 2016.
It may not be the most popular decision, but allowing Casey to bask in the All-Star spotlight with Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry as a starter and DeMar DeRozan in the mix for a reserve spot would add some deserved hometown flavor to the star-studded clash.
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