The Los Angeles Lakers have been the subject of blunder after blunder over the past few months. The latest came after Tyronn Lue declined their three-year offer to be the next head coach of the team, hoping to get the standard five-year contract instead.
That the Lakers were unable to hire Lue is a colossal failure given his insistence that it was his dream job. The former Cavaliers head coach was even willing to adhere to the asinine request that Jason Kidd becomes his assistant head coach.
We know that Lue laid it all out during his interviews with the Lakers brass, including pitching going after top coaches to be his assistants. Joe Vardon of The Athletic, however, revealed just how much detail Lue went into:
If Lue would have coached the Lakers, whether LeBron brought the ball up the court or not, he would have gone to the low, mid, or high post next. From there he could make his move or pass out of the elbow. Under Walton, the Lakers played random offense, when any of four players (among starters) could push the ball, and players were expected to pick lanes and fill it.
In Lue’s view, LeBron is at his best when there is some semblance of an offense and he knows the order of the options in each set. The Cavs’ offense in Cleveland wasn’t exactly high tech, and both LeBron and Irving ran all sorts of isolation, but there was a paint-by-numbers aspect in which LeBron could catch the ball in designated spots and know, based on the system, where teammates would be to catch and shoot.
Much has been made of the Lakers’ mismatched roster surrounding LeBron last season — few if any spot-up shooters, no second stars like he enjoyed in Miami in Cleveland — and the organization is expected to make runs at adding specialists and a top-line free agent.
But Lue thought the Lakers could’ve gotten more out of what they had last year. As Lue did in that 2016-17 season with LeBron and Irving, he would’ve staggered minutes for LeBron and Brandon Ingram, so that the team rarely played without either on the court.
The Lakers had a somewhat normal coaching search. It led them to the best candidate for the job (although there were some behind-the-scenes shenanigans required to get there) who explained to them exactly how he would be a coach for the Lakers and not just for LeBron James. And they still bungled it by being demanding and cheap.