As LeBron James prepares to join the Los Angeles Lakers, coach Luke Walton is about to find himself in the spotlight. Fortunately for him, he has received advice from someone who has been in his situation.
"My thing, I just want to let him know, the s--t that people say and you read, Bron's not like that. Like, they make it seem like he's hard on the coach, he's hard on [the organization]. He's nothing like that. That's the most important thing I want to convey with him: that he's not like that."
Lue noted that there are a lot of misconceptions about the four-time MVP:
"My biggest thing is the zoo comes from just the outside media. It's really not coming from within because everybody he deals with—Maverick [Carter], Randy [Mims], all those guys—are professional. So it won't be no problem from any of those guys, and Bron carries himself the right way.
"So the biggest part is just having to deal with the media scrutiny. But he's not like that. I don't want people thinking Bron's an asshole or Bron's this and that because he's not."
The 41-year-old opened up about James' decision last week on NBA TV:
Over the years, James has received criticism for the way he has interacted with coaches. He is no stranger to making his presence felt in huddles, which draws attention.
Lue, of course, took over for David Blatt in the middle of the 2015-16 season, as his predecessor reportedly did not have the support of his players. Under new leadership, the Cavaliers went on to win their first-ever title that season, helping James make good on his promise of delivering a championship to Cleveland.
Lue acknowledged to McMenamin that he did his homework on James before taking over in Cleveland. He talked to Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra—who coached James for four seasons—to seek advice and learn how to handle the situation.
Of course, championship-or-bust expectations are not easy to deal with, and Lue even had to step away from the team this past season because of health reasons. Still, Lue recognizes that James is a once-in-a-generation talent.
"Everybody LeBron has been around, he's helped and made better. From his family, to his friends, organizations—Miami's organization, Cleveland's organization—the city of Cleveland, the city of Miami, coaching staffs, players. Just think about it. Everybody he's been around for his 15 years, he's made better. ... He's been a big part of who I am."