Report: LeBron James Didn’t Ask Lakers to Hire Tyronn Lue as Head Coach

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The prospect of former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reuniting with the Lakers fell apart on Wednesday over contract issues for Lue.

One new report indicates that the future Hall of Famer and his agent made no effort to recruit the coach who teamed with James to lead the Cavaliers to their lone NBA title in 2016.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic assessed the aftermath of Lue walking away from the Lakers job and how James’ actions mirrored those that had taken place during his time with the Cavaliers:

“LeBron, of course, was open to reuniting with Lue, though neither he nor his agent, Rich Paul, asked the Lakers to hire him, sources said. LeBron took a similar approach to potential free agents early during his second stint in Cleveland, putting the onus on front-office leaders to make decisions. Brownie points to them if they get it right.”

The breakdown in talks largely centered on the length of Lue’s contract, with the Lakers offering a three-year deal. That offer would’ve coincided with the remaining amount of time on James’ deal with the Lakers. Instead, Lue asked for five years, with another problem in the negotiations dealing with the Lakers choosing his assistant coaches.

The rumors about James’ alleged involvement in recruiting Lue aren’t the first time that the superstar has been accused of such dealings. When Lue was hired in January 2016 as head coach of the Cavs to replace the fired David Blatt, that same belief that James had input into the decision was dismissed by then-Cavaliers general manager David Griffin:

“This is my decision, this is our basketball staff’s decision. I’m not taking a poll; my job is to lead a franchise and to lead an organization to where it needs to go. I’m in the locker room. I’ve done this for a long time and I know what it’s supposed to feel like. I didn’t need to ask questions.”

Lue isn’t currently in need of a job, considering he still has two more years to run on the five-year, $35 million contract he signed with the Cavaliers in 2016. While it’s possible that the Lakers and Lue can work out their differences, the likelihood of a reunion for Lue and James has diminished considerably.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.