Upon mutually agreeing to part ways with Luke Walton three weeks ago, speculation immediately tied the Los Angeles Lakers to Tyronn Lue to become their next head coach. Lue easily was the most accomplished candidate available, has history with the Lakers and LeBron James’ support.
Of course, as Walton’s seat grew warm during the season, there were rumblings that the Lakers held interest in Lue and would approach him upon deciding Walton’s fate. Lue did his part to maintain distance out of respect to Walton, who was quickly hired by the Sacramento Kings.
While it became evident the former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach was a top target of the Lakers, so too was Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams. The Lakers held two interviews with each candidate and were said to be split on which was the better choice.
The decision has in some part been made for them, as Williams reportedly agreed to a five-year contract to become the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns.
Although it’s seemingly cleared the way to Lue being hired by the Lakers, they have yet to extend a contract offer, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski :
The expectation is the Lakers will move toward Ty Lue as head coach, but there's been no offer made to him yet, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2019
Lue went 211-183 over parts of four years as Cavs head coach, which included three straight trips to the NBA Finals and one championship. The title came in dramatic fashion as James and Kyrie Irving helped Cleveland overcome a 3-1 series deficit against the Golden State Warriors.
James leaving the Cavaliers in free agency for a second time left the team in dire straits, and Lue was fired after an 0-6 start to the 2018-19 NBA season. The quick decision earned Lue public support from James, further fueling early speculation they would wind up together in L.A.
That close relationship reportedly had some within the Lakers organization hesitant to move forward with Lue because of the perception that could be created. Similarly, Lue is said to have made it clear to general manager Rob Pelinka he did not want to be hired solely for James.