The Houston Rockets are interested in hiring former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue for the lead assistant coach role.
The Houston Rockets are pursuing Tyronn Lue for the team’s lead assistant coach role, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The New Orleans Pelicans are also looking to add Lue to Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff, according to the report.
The Rockets have clear intentions of overhauling the coaching staff after firing defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik, along with three other assistants. However, Mike D’Antoni is likely to be on the Rockets’ sidelines for at least another season and possibly even longer, as the 68 year old recently told reporters he could coach another three seasons. Last week, reports surfaced saying the Rockets and D’Antoni were working on a contract extension.
Lue had previously been an assistant coach in the league for years and took on his first head coaching role with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015. In the 2015-16 season, Lue helped lead the Cavs to the franchise’s first ever championship. He also helped lead Cleveland to Finals appearances in both 2017 and 2018, but the Cavs lost to the Warriors both years.
After LeBron James left Cleveland last summer, the Cavs went into full-on rebuild mode, losing their first six games of the 2018-19 season. The Cavs quickly fired Lue, and the Rockets offered Lue an assistant coaching position soon after in late October but haven’t made a formal offer recently, according to the report.
In the earlier parts of May, the Lakers offered Lue a head coaching position, where he had the opportunity to reunite with LeBron James. However, Lue wanted a long-term deal in the five-year range, but LA only offered him a three-year deal. Lue’s camp pulled out of the negotiations, as he felt the Lakers’ offer was too low considering his championship pedigree, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
If Lue wasn’t willing to accept a three-year deal to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, it would be a stretch to think he would join Houston as only an assistant, but he could join the Rockets to be part of a more stable organization.
After losing Jeff Bzdelik, who made the most of Houston’s defensive potential, Tom Thibodeau would be a great defensive mind to add to Houston’s coaching staff. Thibs was an assistant coach for the 2008 Boston Celtics, one of the best defensive teams of that decade, during their championship run. He also coached the Bulls from 2010-2015, who were almost always one of the top 10 defensive teams in the league.