Clippers Rumors: Lue, Young Players, Kawhi

After parting ways with Doc Rivers, the Clippers initially put together a list of about 10 possible candidates to replace him, according to Jovan Buha and Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The team seriously considered five of those candidates before narrowing their search to three finalists.

Although the Clippers did conduct a full search, Tyronn Lue was the first candidate they contacted following Rivers’ departure and was one of just two candidates who checked every one of the team’s boxes. As Buha and Vardon explain, the Clippers consider Lue an “elite tactician” and viewed his familiarity with the roster as a positive — having spent the 2019/20 season as Rivers’ lead assistant, Lue got to see first-hand what went wrong, and has ideas for potential solutions.

[RELATED: Clippers to promote Tyronn Lue to head coach]

According to The Athletic’s duo, the Clippers also like that Lue isn’t a “staunch idealist” like Mike D’Antoni or Tom Thibodeau, and is more willing to tinker with lineups and styles, adapting to the roster he has. The club hopes to keep Kawhi Leonard and Paul George around for multiple seasons but recognizes that the roster might change around them. L.A.’s front office believes Lue is capable of adjusting to those changes and getting the best out of his players.

Speaking of Leonard and George, they were consulted by the Clippers’ top decision-makers during the search, per Buha and Vardon. However, neither star forward wanted to steer the search in a particular direction and told the team that they trusted the front office. They were both ultimately on board with the choice of Lue.

Here’s more on the Clippers and their new head coaching hire:

  • Lue will be aiming to bring more ball movement and a faster pace to the Clippers next season, sources tell Buha and Vardon. He also intends to switch up defensive coverages more often and give the club’s younger players – such as Ivica Zubac, Landry Shamet, Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele – more playing time.
  • Lue’s five-year contract is believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $7MM per year, according to Buha and Vardon.
  • The Clippers would like to establish better “synergy” between the coaching staff and front office, sources tell The Athletic. Lue is willing to work with the front office as he fills out his staff.
  • Buha and Vardon also reiterated a point that we’ve heard in the past, writing that some Clippers players – including Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams – bristled at the preferential treatment that Leonard received during his first season in L.A. The star forward was allowed to dictate to Rivers when he came out of games and was often late for team flights because he lived in San Diego, according to The Athletic’s reporters.
  • In an Insider-only story for, Kevin Pelton offers up three areas for Lue to focus on as he attempts to get the Clippers to the NBA Finals. Those include tightening up the defense and not overreacting to a disappointing postseason outcome.
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16 thoughts on “Clippers Rumors: Lue, Young Players, Kawhi

  1. Lakers1

    Why doesn’t Leonard get blasted for his prima Donna attitude.. lebron would be destroyed if he showed up late and dictated when he played and when he came out.. that’s problem #1.. you have teammates resenting him and pg and that right there destroys title chances. Lue needs to hold them accountable.. he won’t do clippers Are screwed..

    • The Human Rain Delay

      I think Kl gets a pass bc hes shown that he doesnt want the accolades just as much as he doesnt want the pitfalls-

      Hes a weird dude whoes dealt with more than most people already in his young life (iMAGINE seeing a family memeber shot)

      Im actually Ok with leonard resting as long as everybody knew ahead of time (pen to paper contract time) the plan – In fact if he was on my team id 100% want him resting in the reg season to be ready for the playoffs-

      Clips probably have more on the line in 2021 than any other franchise in all of sports- They could be a team to be reckoned with the next 5 years or go back to a bottom 5 team in the entire league the next decade based on how 21 plays out

    • Have to agree on this one. He got a complete pass on the way his last year in San Antonio was managed. He was fine in T.O., but what he pulled in LA this year are things that any star player should be blasted for.

    • Reflect

      Is he a Prima Donna though? Or is Rivers just a bad coach? I would do the same things at my job too, if there were no negative consequences to it.

      I’m not saying he’s a saint but Leonard’s history has been fine. The Clippers history has not been fine. So maybe it’s the team.

    • specialfriedrice

      Right on Lakers1

      Someone please ask Karl Malone his thoughts on if Kawhi is a prima donna.

    • the sterling don

      Do you know for a fact LeBron doesn’t dictate when he plays and comes out?

  2. What do Clipper fans think of this move of Lue as head coach. Its sounds like the owner is kissing up to Leonard and George by picking a player’s coach. They need a tough coach not some easy going coach if their problem last year was no team work.

    • specialfriedrice

      Not a Clipper fan but I agree, it just doesn’t ad up…Lue was the Lead Assistant Coach…any team moral issues are on him as much as they are on Doc…clearly pandering to two players after the team just crashed and burned when there was already fuel on fire…this is going to get a lot more interesting.

      • x%sure

        ACs are not even equal to night managers at a retail store. They’re assistants. “Lead” AC, what is that but straw boss of ACs. They have no power. Try to fix something on their own and the real coach can undermine it all with a word. Players can’t play for the lead AC.

        In the interview process, Lue claimed he wanted to pick up the pace. That would benefit the 2019 side more than the 2020 side (KL, PG). To me, the Lou Williams pace was not optimal for Paul George and neutralized the Kawhi advantage.

  3. Sillivan

    At this moment,
    Raptors team salary $210 million (cap hold included)
    Clippers team salary $187 million (cap hold included)

    At least 20 reporters prepared the sign and trade proposal for Harrell.


    Are the Clippers and Raptors hard-capped?
    Can they do “sign and trade” for Harrell?

  4. El Don

    Kawhi is the definition of a prima donna, which is funny counting that if he is a top 10 player is just marginally in, SMH!

  5. Clips are joined at the hip to KL and PG13 after the OKC trade, and need both to be happy enough to re-up after next year. If both like Lue, then it’s a good hire, but “elite” isn’t a word that I would think of for any element of his coaching. They will need to make good decisions with the rest of the roster beyond their stars.

  6. stevep-4

    Calling Thibodeau a “staunch idealist” is pretty funny…with the Bulls he trotted out a ton of lineups adapted to the injuries that decimated the team. I guess these days asking people to play defense is “idealist”.

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