Clippers Rumors: Ex-Cavs HC Tyronn Lue Close to Joining LA as 'Top Assistant'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue on the sidelines during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The Lakers-Clippers rivalry is reportedly about to add another wrinkle.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Tyronn Lue is set to join the Clippers as an assistant under coach Doc Rivers. Lue was the Lakers' (and LeBron James') top choice to replace Luke Walton, but talks broke down over contractual structure and the team's desire for Lue to hire Jason Kidd as an assistant coach, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin.

After making the Finals in each of his first three years as an NBA head coach, including winning the 2016 championship, Lue was fired after an 0-6 start with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. He previously served as an assistant under Rivers from 2011 to 2014 with the Boston Celtics and Clippers.

The Clippers' signing of Kawhi Leonard and trade for Paul George in July set the stage for perhaps the most interesting moment in Lakers-Clippers history. The Lakers sat out an entire week of free agency in hopes of pairing Leonard with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, only to watch other potential big names sign quickly and Leonard end up with the Clippers.

Adding Lue to the mix will only further fan the flames.

James and Lue have a great working relationship dating back to their time with the Cavaliers, and it has to sting to see him taking a position across the hallway. The Lakers ultimately landed Frank Vogel as their coach (and Kidd as an assistant), someone with whom James does not have a previous relationship.

That Lue would take an assistant job is a bit of a surprise given his success as a head coach. He certainly would not lack for offers for a head coaching job if he waited out the 2019-20 season. It's possible Lue would have wound up with another job if the Lakers fiasco would not have played out the way it did.

That said, Lue could be in store for his second ring as a coach next season, and it would be a remarkable way to get one up on the Lakers if he did. 

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