After weeks of searching for their next head coach, the LA Clippers have their guy. On Thursday afternoon, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Clippers are finalizing a five-year deal with Tyronn Lue to become the new coach of the franchise.
Ty Lue is finalizing a five-year deal to become the next coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 15, 2020
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Clippers are also hiring former NBA Champion point guard Chauncey Billups as a lead assistant coach on Lue's staff.
Sources: The Los Angeles Clippers are hiring Ty Lue to be their next head coach — with Chauncey Billups as a lead assistant.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 15, 2020
Tyronn Lue has a 128-83 record in a little over three years as a head coach in the NBA. Lue only coached the first six games of the 2018-19 season before being let go by Cleveland for wanting to go in different directions. He also has a 41-20 playoff record, including a 16-5 record during the 2016 postseason that saw him lead Cleveland to the NBA title. According to Wojnarowski, Lue has had significant support among key Clippers players in the head coaching search process.
The LA Clippers have been in limbo over the last few weeks after suffering one of the worst collapses in NBA history. That was followed by the team and head coach Doc Rivers mutually parting ways a little over a week later, leaving them without a head coach entering a very important year with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the roster.
Lue was probably the best available head coach on the free agent coach market. The Clippers reportedly interviewed Mike Brown as well as Jeff Van Gundy, and also had interest in Darvin Ham of the Milwaukee Bucks.
While inside the NBA bubble, then-head coach Doc Rivers said it was shocking that Tyronn Lue wasn't already given a head coaching position in the NBA.
“It's shocking he doesn't have another job,” Rivers said back in July. “I mean, ‘how many guys who have won titles are not coaching?' is a better question. He clearly should be a head coach. You know, but for me, the fact that I've coached Ty; the fact that he's been on my bench, and watching him now, the difference in him is absolutely stunning. It's amazing. When you go from an assistant coach to a head coach – how much you grow, how better you get. This version of Ty has been absolutely wonderful for me, personally. He's just such a smart, smart mind, and he has amazing people skills. For us, it's been invaluable.”
Rivers created that role for Lue on his Boston Celtics staff. He followed him to Los Angeles with the Clippers for the 2013-14 season before joining the Cavs staff the following year.
Back in 2018, Rivers recalled all of the extensive note-taking Lue would do during every single practice with the Celtics and Clippers.
“He would keep that extra notepad and literally every ATO (after-timeout plays) I’ve run in my entire life with Ty, he has and he worked on. He would write them down, he had a book each year and he’d label them ‘Doc’s ATO’s’ and he tweaks them and he runs them. I didn’t have that luxury of watching him do it, so clearly, in that way, he clearly knows me better for sure.”
“He’s a thief,” Rivers joked.
Ha. Ironic, isn't it?