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Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is a “strong front-runner” for the Los Angeles Lakers vacancy, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Wojnarowski added that Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams is also expected to be a candidate for the job.
This comes after Los Angeles and Luke Walton mutually parted ways on Friday.
Lue figures to be a leading candidate based on his history with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James. Lue was on David Blatt’s coaching staff in Cleveland when James returned to the franchise back in 2014. After spending a year-plus as an assistant, Lue was promoted to head coach when Blatt was fired in January 2016.
Lue went 128-83 as the Cavs’ head coach, spanning two full seasons and parts of two others. During his time coaching James, he helped lead the team to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, resulting in the franchise’s first-ever championship in 2016.
He was fired back in October following an 0-6 start to the 2018-19 campaign.
According to The Athletic’s Bill Oram, Lue—who spent three years with Los Angeles as a player—reached out to Walton last month to let him know that nobody from the Lakers organization had contacted him about the job.
Meanwhile, Williams joined Brett Brown’s coaching staff in Philadelphia this season. He previously spent five seasons as the head coach in New Orleans, leading the Hornets/Pelicans franchise to a 173-221 record and two postseason appearances from 2010 to 2015.
As Josh Martin of CloseUp360 pointed out, Williams has ties to the Lakers’ top trade deadline target from this past season:
Josh Martin @JoshMartinNBA
More importantly: Monty Williams was also Anthony Davis’ first NBA head coach in New Orleans. Those two were SUPER close… https://t.co/SSf2ZCKaEV