Clippers Rumors: Tyronn Lue 'Open to Coaching' Kyrie Irving Again amid Trade Buzz

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 5, 2023

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 28: LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue motions down court during the first half against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on January 28, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,  by downloading and or using this photograph,  User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images)
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Tyronn Lue is reportedly not scared off by the idea of coaching the mercurial Kyrie Irving again.

The Los Angeles Clippers coach is "open" to the team acquiring Irving, according to Law Murray of The Athletic. The Clippers have reportedly made a "strong" push to acquire Irving before Thursday's trade deadline.

Irving requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets amid a failure of the two sides to reach a long-term contract extension. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the All-Star guard was hoping for an extension "in the neighborhood" of his four-year, $198.5 million maximum. The Nets are hesitant to sign Irving to a long-term deal "without further evidence that Irving could stay reliable, perform at a high level and remain controversy-free," according to Wojnarowski.

The Clippers, Lakers, Heat, Mavericks and Suns have been mentioned as potential suitors for Irving.

Lue coached Irving for parts of two seasons in Cleveland, with the Cavs going to the NBA Finals in both campaigns. Irving forced a trade to the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2017. In the aftermath of Irving's departure from Cleveland, there were persistent rumors of tension between Lue and LeBron James' Cavaliers co-star.

That said, Irving appeared to have some regrets about how he handled his latter Cleveland tenure and reportedly pushed for the Nets to hire Lue in 2020. The team instead hired Steve Nash, who was fired in November after surviving just barely more than two seasons.

The Clippers would instantly have the NBA's top big three with Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but it's difficult to find a workable trade the Nets would accept that does not include either of the L.A. stars. It seems unlikely that Brooklyn is willing to take a trade package that includes future draft picks and a hodgepodge of third-tier veterans for salary-matching purposes.