CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has been a name bantered about with regard to the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching position, which is currently held by Luke Walton, but the 2016 NBA Championship leader wanted to clear the air.
According to The Athletic, Lue reached out to Walton to assuage any worry created by the rumors and reports of him being in negotiations to take over the team at season’s end.
“Lue recently called Walton to assure him that the Lakers had not contacted him about a potential head coach opening, a source close to the situation told The Athletic.
“The source said Lue told Walton that if he was contacted by someone in the organization, he would let the Lakers coach know out of ‘courtesy and friendship.’”
Lue has two connections to the Lakers, first being small forward LeBron James, who left Cleveland in free agency to sign a long-term contract with Los Angeles, and then, the fact that he played the first three years of his professional career with the Lakers.
In 211 games as head coach of the Cavaliers, Lue posted a 128-83 record, good enough for a .607 winning percentage and finished an average of 22.5 games above the .500 mark.
Lue led the Cavaliers to 27 wins in 41 games after a mid-season promotion from associate head coach to replace David Blatt after he was dismissed by the club, and posted back-to-back 50-win seasons in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.
In the postseason, Lue guided the Cavaliers to a 41-20 record (.672 winning percentage) with three straight Eastern Conference titles and the 2016 NBA Championship.
Now in his third full season as Lakers head coach, Walton is 94-145 (.393) in 239 games. The Lakers have not won more than 35 games or made a return to the postseason in any of Walton’s three seasons.
Despite an overhauled roster led by James, the Lakers are 33-42 through the first 75 games of the 2018-2019 season and were eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week.
“I fully expect to be coaching this team again next year,” Walton told The Athletic on Tuesday night.
“I just view it as outside noise unless someone from within tells me that that happened. Unless someone from within our group is telling me that, I just view it like all the other things we’ve gone through as a team this year. Those are things that I don’t have the time to worry about. I’ve got more important things to do, like getting the team better and doing my job.”