Report: Lakers only interviewed Tyronn Lue for head coaching position to appease LeBron James - Lakers Daily

Report: Lakers only interviewed Tyronn Lue for head coaching position to appease LeBron James

LeBron James and Tyronn Lue

A new report indicates that the Los Angeles Lakers’ pursuit of Tyronn Lue as the team’s head coach was only done to make LeBron James happy.

Bill Oram and Joe Vardon of The Athletic wrote that the Lakers went through the motions of negotiating with Lue, but purposefully created roadblocks that ultimately resulted in Lue walking away from the opportunity.

“The Lakers wanted to help Lue select his assistant coaches, and that frustrated him,” Oram and Vardon wrote. “Lue was stunned, sources said, when he met with the Lakers’ deep thinkers for the first time (prior to any contract discussions) and Kurt Rambis, a senior adviser to [Rob] Pelinka and team owner Jeanie Buss, asked Lue if he would accept him — Rambis — on Lue’s bench.

“The Lakers, through a spokeswoman, denied Rambis asked Lue about coaching with him.

“‘Ty felt like they were doing everything in their power to get him to not take the job,’ one source said. ‘Offer him less years, less money, stir up the pot with some of these other things. They knew they had to interview him because LeBron wanted him, but they were hoping he would walk away.'”

That contract offer was a three-year, $18 million deal, which would have been a big pay cut from the five-year, $35 million contract he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers after coaching them to an NBA title in 2016.

James was the central component of that Cavs team and had forged a strong bond with Lue during their time together. After James left the Cavs to join the Lakers in free agency, Lue began the 2018-19 season with an 0-6 record and was promptly fired by Cavs.

After sitting out the remainder of that season, Lue served as a Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach to Doc Rivers last season. He was then elevated to the top spot after Rivers was dismissed.

The Lakers ultimately hired Frank Vogel, who ended up leading the team to their first title in a decade. On Tuesday night, Lue will be coaching at Staples Center against Vogel as the Clippers open up the 2020-21 campaign against the Lakers.