Both prior to and since the Los Angeles Lakers parted ways with Luke Walton, Tyronn Lue has been speculated about as a top candidate to become the franchise’s new head coach. Lue checks off criteria perceived to be of significance — prior ties to the Lakers and a strong relationship with LeBron James.
In the time since the Lakers announced they and Walton arrived at a mutual decision to cut ties, the team has reportedly met with Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams. The Lakers and Williams are expected to have a second meeting in the near future.
Meanwhile, L.A. is due to visit with Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard, likely next week. Between a second sit down Williams and speaking with Howard, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka reportedly is meeting with Lue on Friday.
During an appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski outlined Lue’s desire to push back against the idea he would be hired solely because of James’ presence:
“[Lue’s relationship with James] is certainly important, but I think one of the messages Ty Lue wants to get through to Rob Pelinka is, ‘I’m not here to be LeBron James’ coach. I’m here to coach the Lakers. I’m going to coach the whole group.’ I think one of the misnomers of Ty Lue’s time in Cleveland was, listen, he challenged LeBron James. He was hard on LeBron James at times. He’s not there to just be his caddy, and I do think that commanded LeBron’s respect. And I think that will be a big part of the conversation [Lue and Pelinka] have.”
Lue’s ascension to Cleveland Cavaliers head coach was said to be related to strong rapport with James, which David Blatt was unable to forge. When Lue was fired after an 0-6 start to the 2018-19 NBA season, James voiced public support for his former head coach.
Although Lue has seemingly emerged as a top candidate, some within the Lakers organization reportedly fear hiring him would give James too much power.