The Los Angeles Lakers came very close to hiring Ty Lue as the team’s next head coach in 2019. Unfortunately, the two sides could not agree on the finances involved, prompting Lue to pass on the opportunity.
LA went on to hire Frank Vogel, who in turn led the Lakers to an NBA championship.
Lue, meanwhile, landed as an assistant under Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers before ultimately getting elevated to head coach when Rivers departed for the Philadelphia 76ers.
This week, Lue spoke out about that negotiation with the Lakers and made it clear that it’s not just water under the bridge.
“The Lakers [saw it] more so as like [I’m just] coming to coach LeBron,” Lue told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “No, I’m coming to win. I just didn’t think I was treated fairly. And I wasn’t just going to accept any offer just to get a job. I just thought I was better than that.”
The Lakers offered Lue $18 million across three years – less than he made during his championship-run with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lue believes firmly it’s because they were under the impression that he only won the title due to James. Which may explain the pair’s extremely awkward recent exchange during a game.
“LeBron’s been in the league, what, 18 years?” Lue said. “He won four championships. So that don’t mean you’re automatically going to win because you have LeBron James. So I do coach with a chip on my shoulder because, like people say, ‘Oh, he can’t do it without LeBron. He can’t …’”
In any case, it seems like everyone got what they wanted. The Lakers won a title with Vogel, and Lue eventually got to coach in Los Angeles with the Clippers. When Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return next season, he may also compete for a championship. Though up until now, he’s mostly just proven himself to be very adept at tanking.
A gamechanger for college basketball. https://t.co/WtFvJ5unth
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 21, 2022
It will be interesting to see what Lue ultimately accomplishes with the Clippers down the line.
Will he make the Lakers rue the day they let him go? Time will tell.