Rockets, Clippers engaged in battle for Tyronn Lue
Two prominent teams in the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers are vying to secure the services of assistant coach Tyronn Lue to slot in their respective vacant head coaching positions for the upcoming 2021 NBA season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Rockets will aim to move swiftly and could try to extend an offer before the Clippers get to complete its search process. However, another figure involved in the mix is Jeff Van Gundy who is scheduled to meet with the Texas-based squad this week, sources said.
The former NBA veteran in Lue has been the Clippers’ frontrunner since former head tactician Doc Rivers was dismissed on September 28. The Rockets initially wanted to acquire the 2008 champion coach but was ultimately beaten by the Philadelphia Sixers who quickly agreed to a resolution with Rivers.
Van Gundy has recently been active as a coach with USA Basketball but hasn’t made a return in the NBA since resigning with the Rockets in 2007. Van Gundy was 430-318 in the regular season and 44-44 in the postseasons in parts of 11 total seasons with the Rockets and New York Knicks.
Currently an analyst for ESPN, Van Gundy has been a favorite of the Rockets’ team brass. It is also known that the interest is mutual as he prefers the idea of coaching in his adopted home city of Houston.
On the other hand, Lue coached the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 to 2016 as an associate head coach and retained the post from 2016 to 2018 as an official head coach of the team. He guided the LeBron James-led squad to its only championship in franchise history and achieved an improbable 3-1 comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals.
He reached the championship stage for three straight years before being fired by Cleveland after an 0-6 start in the 2018-2019 season. The Mexico, Missouri native currently holds a 128-83 overall record and is 41-20 in the playoffs.
The following weeks will see where the two figures will land heading into the 2020-2021 NBA season.