There’s growing skepticism among those close to the coach and the Clippers that a rival team would be able to poach Lue away, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
The Clippers still hope to contend for championships going forward despite another disappointing playoff exit in 2022/23, and owner Steve Ballmer is known to be a “huge fan” of Lue. As Fischer observes, the Bucks and Suns also don’t have much in the form of future first-round picks, which would likely be necessary to acquire Lue — assuming the Clippers would even permit a rival to interview him, and there’s no indication they would — while he’s still under contract.
The Bucks do have their 2029 first-rounder available, but Fischer suggests they’ll likely use it to acquire a player — either this offseason or in the future. Sources tell Fischer that Milwaukee contemplated dealing the pick to try to land Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic ahead of the February trade deadline.
Here are some more coaching rumors from around the NBA:
- Gregg Popovich, the longest-tenured head coach in the league, is expected to stay with the Spurs for as long as he wants to continue coaching, and there’s no indication that the Hall-of-Famer plans to retire next season, especially after San Antonio won the draft lottery. However, Popovich’s contract expired at the end of the season, and he hasn’t signed a new deal yet, sources tell Fischer.
- The fact that the Pistons have yet to hire one of their three coaching finalists has left coaching agents around the league wondering if they’ll reopen their search and consider more candidates, Fischer writes. The three finalists — Kevin Ollie, Charles Lee and Jarron Collins — met with owner Tom Gores last week, Fischer confirms. Detroit is thought to have interest in Monty Williams, who was fired by the Suns last week, so that might explain the holdup. That said, Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com hears from sources that the job is expected to come down to either Ollie or Collins (Twitter link).
- According to Fischer, the Raptors hope to be “blown away” in an interview with one of their long list of coaching candidates. Toronto is believed to be open to an “unconventional” choice. Assistant coaches Jim Sann and Rico Hanes are expected to be retained regardless of who is named head coach, sources tell Fischer.
- Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated hears (via Twitter) that Ime Udoka “wants to do right” by his former Celtics assistants, and will extend those interested an invitation to join him with the Rockets after his unceremonious departure from Boston. Royal Ivey, who worked with Udoka on the Nets, recently joined his staff in Houston.