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Clippings: Ty Lue’s Los Angeles sabbatical may be nearing its end

Ty Lue is reportedly interested in the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job.

Los Angeles Clippers v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Ty Lue landed with the Clippers by happenstance last summer. The former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, who led the team to its only championship in franchise history in 2016, had no reason to be an assistant again. Three years of leading the Cavaliers to the Finals, one of which resulted in arguably the greatest upset in NBA history, meant that Lue was bound for greener pastures than Doc Rivers’ bench.

Lue was ostensibly in line to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers this season and rejoin LeBron James after their Cleveland days together. Instead, some front office chicanery with the Lakers left Lue as a free agent. Rather than take another year off, he became an assistant to Rivers, a job he held for three years with the Celtics and Clippers from 2011-14.

It was unlikely that Lue would remain an assistant for long; he was essentially easing his way back into the top job. Now, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, there is one such role that interests Lue: head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets began the year with head coach Kenny Atkinson, the man who helped make Brooklyn cool again and who built a culture that lured Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the team during the offseason. A somewhat disastrous season, one which only featured 20 games combined from Durant and Irving, led the Nets and Atkinson to part ways on March 7, and now Lue has a chance to reunite with another one of his Cleveland stars in Irving.

According to Bondy’s reporting, Irving is interested in a reunion with Lue — despite demanding a trade from Cleveland a year and a half into Lue’s tenure — and the interest is mutual from his former head coach. Lue clearly has no qualms about walking into a high-pressure situation. That’s how he started his head coaching career with the Cavaliers, it’s what he was prepared for with the Lakers, and it’s the type of environment he’s been a part of with the Clippers.

Of the available coaches, Lue is the most successful and arguably the most desirable. Even if Brooklyn doesn’t take Lue off the market, another team will shortly. The Clippers are well-equipped to handle his potential departure, with Sam Cassell and Rex Kalamian as lead offensive and defensive assistants.

Lue and the Clippers were always a temporary match. His return to head coaching is a matter of when, not if.

On to the links...

  • The Clippers are partnering with the Lakers, the Sparks, the Kings, the Galaxy and AEG to sell merchandise to benefit the Mayor’s L.A. Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund, per a team release.
  • 213 Hoops is ranking the 2010s Clippers, starting with the worst.
  • The Athletic voted on its NBA awards — some highlights for the Clippers: Kawhi Leonard earned 93% of votes for who you want guarding the ball down 3 and late in the 4th quarter. Patrick Beverley also received one vote. Montrezl Harrell finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting (39%) behind Dennis Schroder (42%). Lou Williams didn’t make the top three.
  • A transportation update regarding the Clippers arena project in Inglewood.