For anyone unaware, Ty Lue, head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers has recently been fired as of 29/10/18. Lue has been the most successful head coach in Cleveland Cavaliers history, regardless of the players at his disposal or the time he has been in charge, bringing the Cavs their first NBA Championship in their history. Even through just thinking about the tip of the iceberg, through the above statement, Lue did not deserve to go out from the Cavaliers like this.
Lue has had a modest playing career, bouncing between a few teams but collecting two championships with the Lakers in 2000 and 2001. His playing career was moderating uneventful barring those two champions although he has played with some future and current hall of fame players during his tenor. After his retirement in 2009, Lue became his front off career as the head of basketball development with the Los Angeles Clippers. He then progressed to assistant coach with the Boston Celtics under coaching journeyman Doc Rivers. Lue followed Rivers to the Clippers until 2014 where he was a front-runner for the head coach job at the Cavaliers but had to settle for associate head coach. This is where Lue’s Cavilers legacy begins. Lue helped develop some players such as Kyrie Irving during this stint until 2016 where he was named the head coach of the team.
2016 was the best year of Ty Lue’s short coaching career to date, winning his first coaching championship with the Cavs over the Golden State Warriors in a 7 game series. What followed this was back to back finals run and a 0-6 start to this current season which ahs leading to him being fired.
If we look at his coaching career with the Cavs objectively, he has been the most successful coach in the franchises history. He has led the team to their only championship and also assisted in steering them to 4 successful finals appearances. This is not taking away anything from the players, in particular, LeBron James who has been enormous for the team in this period. In this current season, the Cavs have had a very rocky start, losing their first 6 games, which has led to his eventually, release. This is not a fair way for him to go and Lue should be celebrated for his achievements with this ball club.
Firstly, losing the best player in the world in LeBron James will affect any team in a monstrous way. This has shaken the Cavs to their core who are officially rebuilding. Any team loosing a player of that caliber with few backup pieces outside of Kevin Love would struggle. Look at history such as the Orlando Magic who lost Shaquille O’Neal and become a lottery team. Players that dictate a team and have the team built around their play style leave a big big hole in the franchise. Secondly, Lue made the right decision in pulling the trigger on the Irving trade with the Celtics. Although it may have effectively killed their chance of a championship in the most recent season, it has given them a cornerstone for the future in Colin Sexton. Sexton will be a redeeming feature of the Cavs this year as he develops his games and becomes a solid all round player. Thirdly, as said previously, Lue is the most successful coach in the team’s history. You do not see a coach who has not missed the finals in almost half a decade and brought the first championship to the franchise be let go like this. It is an indictment on the back office of the Cavs, in particular, Dan Gilbert for letting a rough starts after a difficult off-season ruin the legacy of their head coach. Lets not quickly forget that Lue had to take a leave of absence from the team due to the amount of stress from the ball club but he still came back and put himself on the line in an attempt to get the club to their second championship. Finally, we do not promote tanking, but seriously, what did people expect the Cavs to achieve this year? Led by an inconsistent Kevin Love, trying to develop Sexton and young Cedi Osman, was winning the West really an expectation? Even making the playoffs seems farfetched. A successful season for the Cavs would be obtaining a high draft pick in a stacked draft and also seeing progress from their players. Yes, 0-6 is not going well at all but one recalls a Miami team with James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh getting off to a similar start. More talent on a team than was seen in history up until that point. More pressure was on the Miami team and they turned it around to make the finals, the Cavs can at least turn their season around to get to maybe 20 wins and be competitive this year.
With all the information presented, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ty Lue for his service to the franchise and stat again that he did not deserve to go out like that. If the Cavs didn’t renew his contract at its expiry, that’s one thing but to be released after 6 games? That is downright disrespectful to what he has achieved with this team and the blood, sweat and tears he has poured into the team.
Thank you Coach Lue.