LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) – Tyronn Lue, who coached the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 National Basketball Association (NBA) title, has agreed to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, according to multiple reports on Thursday (Oct 15).
ESPN and USA Today reported that he has agreed to replace Doc Rivers, who parted ways with the Clippers just over two weeks ago, with ESPN saying the deal was for five years.
Lue, 43, served as the lead assistant coach for the Clippers this past season, when they blew a 3-1 lead to lose the second-round play-off series to the Denver Nuggets.
Expected to join his staff is former NBA player Chauncey Billups, who is also a candidate to fill the coaching vacancy of the Indiana Pacers.
The Clippers were viewed as massive disappointments in the NBA play-offs due to the collapse against the Nuggets. The final three setbacks were ugly as Los Angeles led by as many as 16, 19 and 12 points, respectively, in the losses.
They had been expected to contend for the NBA title after landing All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer of 2019.
But the team were reportedly dealing with chemistry issues during their post-season stay at the “bubble” near Orlando. Veteran guard Lou Williams publicly cited the chemistry as an issue after the Game 7 loss to the Nuggets.
Rivers was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers five days after being fired by the Clippers.
In 2016, Lue was promoted to coach by the Cavs following the firing of David Blatt as coach and he guided the LeBron James-powered club to the NBA crown.
The Athletic reported that Larry Drew, a Lue assistant in Cleveland, will join his Clippers staff.
The Clippers have never reached a conference final but with Leonard and George leading a talented squad, they are seen as contenders again next season.
Lue, 128-93 as an NBA head coach, becomes the sixth African-American head coach in the NBA.
He was a two-time NBA champion as a player, helping the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2000 and 2001 NBA crowns.