The Lakers weren’t able to land Monty Williams as their next head coach. Now, it appears, Ty Lue will give them a hard pass as well.
When it was reported that Monty Williams had agreed to a five-year deal taking over as head coach of the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers’ future seemed set. Since parting ways with Luke Walton in mid-April, the Lakers have been linked in rumors to several head coaching candidates, but none as frequently as Williams and Ty Lue, who won a championship with LeBron and the Cavaliers in 2016.
Lue replaced the fired David Blatt with Cleveland in the middle of the 2015-16 season and was at the helm when the Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit against the Golden State Warriors, with LeBron delivering won his third championship. Lue led the Cavaliers to two more 50-win seasons and NBA Final losses to the Warriors before he was fired, six games into the 2018-19 season. His relationship with LeBron and championship pedigree made plenty of sense for the Lakers, especially with Williams off the table.
Now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Lue has passed on the Lakers’ offer and they’re moving on to other options. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that the issue was Lue’s insistence on a five-year offer when the Lakers were only willing to offer three, lining Lue’s contract up with the end-date of LeBron’s. To be fair to Lue, Williams was offered a five-year deal by the Suns, while having a career head-coaching record below .500.
Unfortunately, none of this really matters for the Lakers. Their future is pinned to LeBron and either the development of their young assets or the immediate value they can flip them for. Lue, Williams, Jason Kidd, Juwan Howard — there are interesting candidates but there isn’t anyone on the market who has proven they can provide enough value to compensate for the Lakers’ other shortcomings, and propel them into championship contention.