clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What about Ty Lue? Isn’t he more likely than Gregg Popovich?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Other than Gregg Popovich, who went to the Finals six times, winning five, only one coach being mentioned as a possible Nets head man has a ring. Tyronn “Ty” Lue, currently an assistant to the Clippers Doc Rivers, won in 2016 and took three straight Cavaliers teams to the Finals.

Jeff Van Gundy went to the Finals as Knicks head coach in 1999 but didn’t win. The others, like Jason Kidd and Jacque Vaughn, never got to the mountain top at least as a coach. Both have a ring as players.

So what about Lue? While much ink has been spilled and many electrons dispatched on Popovich’s supposed candidacy, less has been expended on the 43-year-old Lue, who according to reports 1) wants to coach in Brooklyn; 2) has a superstar, Kyrie Irving, in his corner and 3) “expects an offer” from Sean Marks et al.

As Brian Lewis notes Wednesday morning, Lue is a more likely bet than Popovich for all those reasons and more. Comparing the possibilities of Popovich, Lewis lays out all the positives, then asks the rhetorical question...

Is it probable? No.

The Athletic reported that Popovich would be the Nets’ “dream candidate,” and that’s true. Marks is too meticulous not to exhaust every avenue to acquire the best in the sport; and despite whatever compensation Spurs CEO R.C. Buford would extract, Popovich is the best. But it’s more of a pipe dream than a pending reality.

On Lue, he writes...

Currently a Clippers assistant, Lue is wanted by both New Orleans and Philadelphia. But Lue reportedly “wants to coach a contending team and is intrigued with the Sixers,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which adds he’s expecting an offer from the Nets.

Lewis also notes that the other connection to Lue, Joe Harris, has said of Lue: “The way he was able to relate with the players, especially just day-to day was pretty unique in terms of a coaching perspective.” And the Nets lead assistant now is Bret Brielmaier who won a ring with Lue in Cleveland.

Over at The Athletic, Joe Vardon who’s been in the “bubble,” lists all the possibilities for Lue, from the Nets to the Pelicans to the 76ers to possibly even the Rockets if Houston disappoints. Of the Nets, he writes...

In Brooklyn, there is a superstar who Lue has already coached in Irving. Kyrie’s best, most successful, least personally damaging seasons were with Lue in Cleveland, and they are interested in working together again. In a vacuum, it’s easy to envision Lue running a two-man game on offense with Irving and a healthy Durant, like he did with LeBron and Irving, but Durant is coming off a torn Achilles. He’s also not the passer that LeBron is, and those two items leave some question as to how the Irving-Durant pairing will work for the Nets.

Of course, it’s hard to argue that the 76ers, who will have the NBA’s highest payroll next season, is more attractive ... with all the dysfunction everyone saw in their first round exit. The Rockets have their own superstar issues and although the Pelicans present an intriguing mix, and David Griffin is a familiar figure, having been the GM in Cleveland, they’re more than a couple of years away from contention. Writes Marc Stein in his newsletter...

Lue, of course, has also been mentioned for months as a top candidate in the Nets’ looming coaching search. The latest rumbles in N.B.A. coaching circles suggest that the Nets or the Philadelphia 76ers are more likely landing spots for Lue than New Orleans despite his Griffin ties.

Expect the Nets search to be wide with former and current head coaches, assistants, maybe a surprise or two ... and of course, Vaughn ... all getting a shot. They may not interview 11 candidates like the Knicks did, but Lue is likely to be very near the top.