Contract length was the main point of contention that prevented Tyronn Lue from becoming the Lakers’ next coach, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. L.A. was offering Lue $18MM over three years, which would line up with LeBron James‘ remaining commitment to the team. Lue was “insulted” that the Lakers viewed him as just a coach for LeBron and was seeking a five-year deal.
A source tells Shelburne that GM Rob Pelinka didn’t believe negotiations would collapse because Lue doesn’t have interest from any other teams (Twitter link). However, the Cavaliers still owe Lue about $10MM and he didn’t want to risk losing money by taking an offer that he considered below his market value. He also believes his experience coaching at a championship level warrants a longer commitment.
There’s more this morning on the Lue situation:
- Talks also broke down because of the Lakers’ insistence on having the final say on Lue’s assistant coaches, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Lue was willing to make former Pacers and Magic head coach Frank Vogel his top assistant, sources tell Stein, but management wanted him to put Jason Kidd on the staff as well after he performed well in an interview. Stein also reports that two advisers to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss feared that the team would be giving James too much power by hiring Lue.
- Former Lakers player Kurt Rambis, who now serves as an adviser, has expanded his power in the organization and is playing a critical role in the coaching search, relays Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
- Buss made a mistake by letting Pelinka assume too much power after team president Magic Johnson resigned, contends Bill Oram of The Athletic. Lue was the only available candidate who has experience coaching James and was willing to sign up for another round, Oram notes, and Pelinka couldn’t get a deal done. He states that Buss should have found someone to serve as president of basketball operations and let him hire a GM and conduct the coaching search. Instead, she trusted the organization to Kobe Bryant‘s former agent.
- The new coaching candidates — Vogel, Mike Woodson and Lionel Hollins, won’t inspire Lakers fans or help to satisfy James, who has just two years left before he can opt out of his contract, Oram adds. He also wonders how much ineptitude James is willing to put up with before he demands to be traded to a better-run organization.
- Lue’s plans for the Lakers would have looked very similar to how he utilized James in Cleveland, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Lue believes LeBron is most effective in a structured offense where he has an order of options to follow depending on how the defense reacts. Under Luke Walton, the Lakers used more of a random approach where four players had the option to push the ball up court, while the others were instructed to fill lanes on the fast break. Lue told management he would have arranged the minutes for James and Brandon Ingram so that one was always on the court.