Clippers Promote Tyronn Lue To Head Coach

OCTOBER 20: The Clippers have officially announced the hiring of Lue in a team press release.

OCTOBER 15: The Clippers and assistant Tyronn Lue have agreed to a deal that will promote him to fill the team’s head coaching vacancy and lock him up to a new five-year contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Lue was the Clippers’ lead assistant under head coach Doc Rivers during the 2019/20 season. When Rivers and the Clippers parted ways last month, Lue immediately emerged as the frontrunner to fill the newly-opened head coaching position.

A former head coach in Cleveland, Lue compiled a 128-83 (.607) regular season record during two full seasons and parts of two others with the Cavs. He led the team to three straight appearances in the NBA Finals, including a championship in his first season as head coach in 2016.

Lue’s championship résumé and his familiarity – and ability to communicate – with the Clippers’ players were major factors in the team’s decision to promote him to replace Rivers, according to Wojnarowski. Woj previously reported that Lue’s understanding of the pressures of the job was important for Los Angeles. Lue was also said to have the support of “prominent players” on the roster.

Mike Brown, Darvin Ham, Wes Unseld Jr., and Sam Cassell also interviewed for the Clippers’ head coaching vacancy.

Lue was nearly hired in 2019 by the Lakers but couldn’t reach an agreement with the club on the terms of a deal, prompting the franchise to turn to Frank Vogel. Now, after the Lakers won a championship and the Clippers flamed out two rounds earlier, Lue will be tasked with leading Los Angeles’ other team to title contention. He won’t have much room for error, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both eligible to reach free agency during the 2021 offseason.

The Clippers’ decision to promote Lue – and his willingness to accept the job – will have a ripple effect on other teams seeking new head coaches. A popular head coaching candidate this year, Lue was also said to be one of the top contenders for the open positions in Houston and New Orleans. A deal between Lue and the Clippers may be good news for the Van Gundy brothers — Jeff Van Gundy is one of the Rockets’ frontrunners, while Stan Van Gundy is said to be a finalist for the Pelicans’ job.

Meanwhile, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), Chauncey Billups is expected to join Lue in Los Angeles, becoming the lead assistant on his new staff with the Clippers.

Billups was said to be interested in pursuing a head coaching position this fall and is reportedly a candidate in Indiana. Woj and J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link) caution that Billups remains involved in the Pacers‘ head coaching search, but the former Finals MVP sounds prepared to join Lue in Los Angeles if he doesn’t get Indiana’s top job.

Billups has no previous coaching experience, but people around the league have long believed he’d land a significant role with an NBA organization due to his leadership style and “basketball savvy,” according to a September report. A separate report in August indicated that Lue and Billups may be a “package deal” if Lue got a job as a head coach this year.

Another former Cavs head coach, Larry Drew, is also expected to join Lue’s Clippers staff, according to Charania (Twitter link). Drew was an assistant in Cleveland from 2014-18 and received a promotion following Lue’s dismissal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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33 thoughts on “Clippers Promote Tyronn Lue To Head Coach

  1. Sign all the Cubans
    Sign all the Cubans

    Wise move. He’d have been a fool to get involved with that dumpster fire in Houston.

    • hopper15

      Ty Lue is not a good coach. Lebron masked a lot of his deficiencies like he did with Mike Brown.

      • x%sure

        Lebron could also create some. Thing is Lue did his job, and now a similar situation is at stake.

  2. GoLandCrabs

    Last year “Lue would be Lebrons puppet. Clippers will be so much better coached with Doc”. LOL turntables.

  3. imindless

    This team is done. Lou is a terrible coach who was lifted up by lebron and kyries play. Don’t see him being the guy to push clippers over the edge.

  4. Jason Lancaster

    Win win. Ty Lue has proven he knows what he’s doing, and adding Chauncey to his staff is a homerun.

    Where’s Sam-I-am headed off to I wonder?

    • imindless

      Proven what exactly? 1 win in several years in lebron hardly qualify as success lakers just won with frank vogel.

      • imindless

        1 win in several years with lebron james hardly equals being a quality coach*

    • Lakers1

      I’d venture to say clippers will never win a ring.. that team will be quite different.. Harrell will be gone.. jackson gone, Morris gone.. what killed the clippers was the divide in the locker room.. there is no leader on that team.. kawhi is a superstar but he’s not a leader.. pg isn’t a superstar.. he doesn’t even have the respect of his teammates..reason why lakers won is because they have a leader.. they have the dynamic duo of Ad and Lebron.. they have role players that know their role and play it.. no whining about playing time.. it’s all about the team.. players will grow tired of the pampering of kawhi as well.. bad mix of players in clippers locker room.. everyone said clippers needed more time together.. they had 5 new players lakers had 9 and they had no issues.. leadership is huge..

      • imindless

        Reason clippers are done is trading for pg giving up shai and a bunch of young assets in picks to okc. I’d go as far to say if clippers had resisted trading for pg they would have stood a better chance of winning a ring.

        • Lakers1

          Shai is gonna be a star.. that was a Jerry west pick.. year one to year two, huge leap forward.. just think, clippers after drafting shai, drafted Jerome Robinson over Porter jr with next pick.. I know kawhi wanted pg but you don’t give up your future 5 picks plus 2 starters unless you get a Ad type.. clippers gave up way more for PG than lakers gave up for AD.. I can name probably 20-30 Players I’d rather have than pg.. I can probably make 5 that I’d rather have than AD..

  5. omar jimenez

    Very risky move. I question Lue’s ability, as he benefitted by LeBron running the show in Cleveland and didn’t leave an imprint. Learnin from Doc helps, but with the chance than George and Leonard leave next year is why I think this is super risky. Van Gundy was my pick, but maybe the players prefer Lue who enables the current player behavior vs Van Gundy who’s proven to hold players more accountable. Plus Jeff had shown to be voistreous during his broadcasts of games. Being the Balmer wants results and accountability I don’t see Lue has proven to have those attributes. We’ll see if he’s changed since Cleveland. Billups could be the xfactor.

  6. Chief Two Hands

    I don’t think it’s a bad move considering there are not very many options

  7. x%sure

    The reason Lue is said to be good with stars is because he levels and sometimes hollers at them like they’re regular folks. It’s more “collabrative”, not more minor. He did have issues in Cleveland and was not the right HC in 2017/18 when there was turmoil and he stressed out, but that could be called educational too, and certainly high involvement. Still just 43.

    I think the main benefit Ballmer is worried about is getting the fast start— like the title Lue got in his first year. Kawhi could leave after next year. Also he comes from inside.

  8. specialfriedrice

    Well clearly Kawhi is running this little show…good luck turning around that infighting now…

    • Chief Two Hands

      Queue the awkward Kawhi laughter. Not quite what he expected so far with the Clippers and George.

    • arc89

      Lue will be pushed around by Leonard and George. They ran Doc out of town and blamed him. So if they fail next year it will be all on those 2.

  9. davethemailman

    I believe that Ty Lue has the experience and ability to succeed as a head coach in the right situation. But I wonder if he will be enough of a “new voice” to motivate the Clippers to be better than they were last year. Is he enough of a change?

  10. stevep-4

    Lue will be fine with that crowd. He is not a tactician, he is more of a motivator, good for a veteran team, and especially for one that has just finished an underachieving season. He was the only choice out of what was available for that situation – unless you can talk Phil Jackson out of retirement.

  11. Lakers1

    Fun fact: ty Lue who is the only coach to come back from 1-3 deficit in finals is taking over for a coach that has lost 3-1 series leads 3 times..

  12. ajh738

    The only positive for me in promoting Lue to HC is that Chauncey Billups is taken off commentary; worst part of every broadcast. Clips really missed a major opportunity to hire Becky Hammon; better fit and, oh yeah, historic legacy making decision. Ty Lue changes nothing that Doc has/was doing; same issues will rear its head again if the same group returns.

  13. goldenmisfit

    So the clippers fired their head coach who has a championship ring as a head coach on his resume to promote a glorified babysitter? As a Lakers fan this makes me very happy.

    • x%sure

      … who also has a championship ring as a head coach. Be worried instead.

  14. KnickerbockerAl

    Seems continuity is in order. Clippers choked or underperformed. Whichever you want. Seems to me the got real issues if they want to stay contenders. I need proof. We’ll see when the real games begin.

    • El Don

      They didn’t choke or underperform, they did get where I did expect them too.
      Since the preseason I said LAL & DEN in the WCF, so it would had been a big surprise to see the LAC in there, so they reached their expectation if you ask me!

    • Lakers1

      Kawhi is the superstar that if you get on him or call him out he runs away.. remember his spurs teammates called him out for his injury that the team dr’s cleared him to play.. next thing he wanted out of San Antonio.. kawhi can’t take any kind of criticism and if that is what is running your team, the organization Is screwed

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