Lue moves over 18 inches, enters new world of pressure, Cavs’ expectations

VIDEO: Tyronn Lue addresses media following Saturday’s shootaround

The first day of the rest of Tyronn Lue‘s coaching career began unlike any he’d experienced before. Working on other guys’ staffs the past six and a half years bears zero resemblance to the duties and the pressures he’ll face now as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach, replacing David Blatt.

Lue began the day Saturday by officially running his first morning shootaround session. Then he met with the media for the first of what would be three times – in the morning, prior to his debut game against Chicago in the evening at Quicken Loans Arena and one more time for postgame comments.

He also toted along a grasp of the pressure he’s now facing.

Lue has one advantage over a lot of newly hired or promoted head coaches, but it isn’t necessarily flattering. Rampant speculation over the past year or more suggests that the Cavaliers players, foremost among them LeBron James, already relied on and heeded his counsel more than Blatt’s. It’s a perception Lue tried to put to rest right away, along with any notion that he would favor James in his tenure. As reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

He enters the job already with strong ties to James from a friendship that spans 14 years. He has James’ attention already, something that wasn’t always the case with Blatt.

“I talked to ‘Bron. I told him, ‘I got to hold you accountable. It starts with you first. And if I can hold you accountable in front of the team and doing the right things, then everybody else has got to fall in line, fall in place.’”

Lue said he wants to do things better, but not necessarily different than Blatt. He’d like to expand the rotation to 10 players and bring Mo Williams back into it. He talked about playing Williams alongside Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert to give the Cavs three ball handlers at one time and he’d like to re-establish Kevin Love’s presence at the elbow where he was most effective during his years in Minnesota.

Lue became famous last season for calling timeouts from the bench and making substitutions for the Cavs. But he was doing it all with Blatt’s blessing and said he never went behind his coach’s back at any point.

“Blatt knew I had his back 100 percent,” Lue said. “I would never do anything malicious behind his back. So, we talked yesterday and he said, ‘I thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I know you had my back 100 percent.’ ”

James, meanwhile, had a little of his own media spinning or clarifying to do. Given his public friction not just with Blatt but with past coaches, including Miami’s Erik Spoelstra and former Cavs coach Mike Brown, James has the image with some observers as a difficult-to-handle NBA superstar. Many who hold that view assume he requested or demanded Blatt’s dismissal. But according to Lloyd’s report:

LeBron James insisted he learned of David Blatt’s firing when everyone else did and didn’t play a role in it. But he agreed with everything general manager David Griffin said Friday in announcing the decision and said now it’s clear what he meant sometimes when he wasn’t always happy after wins this season.

“Like I told you guys before, you get so caught up in the wins and losses and I tell you every day, it’s not about the wins and losses, it’s how we play,” James said. “It’s how we prepare ourselves every day. … For something like this to happen, now you understand what I was meaning.”

VIDEO: James addresses media following Saturday’s shootaround


  1. David says:

    LeBron James has been the best player for years, maybe even since his 3rd or 4th year in the league. With that in mind, he has always had the expecation to win championships. Remember when they lost in the semis and he walked out and didn’t talk to the media after? Or in the huddles before games he used to scream “1-2-3 Championship!” when MIke Brown said he wished they would scream “1-2-3 Defense!” It is his ego, his own personal self-imposed expectation to win championships that is undermining himself, his team, and his coaches. Just because you have the most individual talent doesn’t mean you can expect to win it all in a team sport. It’s time to step back and re-think your own self-perception LeBron. It’s time for the people you trust to start managing your expectations better.

  2. sanjay says:

    cavs just do not match well with gsw.

    they just cannot have an authoritative coach who takes no nonsense from even a superstar. lou is not no nonsense coach as well. blatt could be but he was overwhelmed by star status players in the nba. In international scenario players are not paid better than the coach unlike in nba. coach salary has to be on par with best players so that he can put the gauntlet on anyone.

    after changing the coach they may not even make it to the finals. it is good as I do not wanna see lebron going 2/7!
    lebron can talk all he wants but you cant have 2 to 3 players played closed to 20 mil and rest are just scrubs.
    the superstars have to make proper sacrifices in terms of monetary benefits so that you can get an allround team. Not 2 or 3 bloated salaries with nothing left to put others around them. kobe found out that in last 3 years!

    gsw just found the right personal at the right time. No player is played over the roof -unlike cavs so that they could put all round talent. all folks play all positions and can shoot 3 pointers and defend at will. they have plenty of money to get talent. same with spurs. we had folks in cavs fighting for money like tristian etc!

    curry, green, thompson,barnes all are franchise parents in their own right in couple of years time. curry can easily demand 50 mil/annum.But they may not do it, if they wanna keep piling the trophy!

    the league has already given up that either spurs or gsw is gonna get the trophy.
    Nuff said.

  3. charlie says:

    This is a team sports and team means coaching staffs and players working together and not only because you have your king in the middle of it all… Again, getting rid of one of the key persons giving you the best record in the east and getting you in the finals last season will have a great impact on what people want to think about CLE’s direction in winning a C this season… Just a very bad timing to replace that coach where all people can see is his records that is crystal clear…

  4. David says:

    I know one thing that firing of David Blatt was the stupid step.
    He is a great coach. He showed it to everyone by getting to the NBA Finals without Irving and Love.

    It’s too hard when Irving and Lebron are both on the court. It’s too dificult to control them.
    Love could not still understand that he is number three after leading Minestota for years.

    Time will show was the decision of firing correct or not but I know one thing that David will be one of the best coaches in NBA not only because of his training history(cause he already is a great one in Europe) but during the next decade he will show to everyone who he really is and what can he do

  5. clay says:

    It looks like KL is next. He fits out better. I hope Cavs will be able to land on M cousin and a couple good shouter’s to help LBJ. KI must improve his defense for the next 2 months, I don’t see Cavs recover from last Monday game at least for 2 months hopefully it will not be late by then. I Like my man LBJ but is unfortunate… Hope for the best.

  6. Shon says:

    Have Dave Griffin ever checked the records of teams after David Blatt has left them? In ALL of them there was a total collapse.

  7. David says:

    “LeBron caught off guard” ROTFL

    How naive do they think we are? We may vote the wrong All Star starters but we know how the world works. I hope LeBrom gets another comeuppance like he did by the Spurs in the 2014 Finals. He clearly has not learned that just because he’s the best player doesn’t mean he knows everything. This most recent display of arrogance deserves a beat-down and I hope any of the elite teams – be it the Warriors, the Spurs, or the Thunder – give it to him on the biggest stage not once, not twice, not three times ….

  8. Raptor4Life says:

    The firing of David Blatt clearly shows how desperate LeBron James has become. LeBron sees the Spurs and Warriors success and is realistic enough to know his hand-picked 111 million dollar “team” will need a miracle to win a championship this season.
    Anyone unwilling to accept that LeBron had both direct and indirect involvement in the coaching change believes in The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus.

  9. Nick says:

    Teams like the Warriors and the Spurs, when healthy chew up and spit out teams like the Cavs that rely on one-on-one play. That’s why the Cavs looked so bad last Monday, and in the finals. It’s also why the Lebron led Heat got spanked by the Spurs in the previous finals. No ball movement, no championship. And something tells me the Cavs front office wants a championship. If Lue can transform this team (mostly Irving and James) from the iso mindset, they will really become dangerous.

  10. Gian says:

    min 2:05 reporter asks: “Why do you think you guys are not galvanised?”
    Lebron asks the reporter if he could explain the meaning of that word
    Reporter gives the wrong definition. ROTFL What’s the point of using big words if you don’t even know the meaning.
    Here what ‘to be galvanised’ means: to be shocked or excited.

  11. ami says:

    Tyronn Lue is arrogant and all the way tried to stab blat back. he talked with players in the middle of the games behind blat back. (it is shown on many of the games). we will see what will happened next. i hope curry will bury klevlend every game with 50 points and he will because he is more humble and much better player than labron and the entire klevlend team. he is a team player which is a term labron isnt familiar with.
    Tyronn Lue thinks he can do better? we will see how many wins and loses he will get.

  12. johnnytc1 says:

    I watched this twice. da king can barley keep a straight face. he alone is why i’ll never buy another Nike thing again. What a lier!

  13. unkaned says:

    Bad timing. Even if Lue is an improvement over Blatt, its unfortunate to come in a year where two West Coast teams are among the best the NBA has ever seen. No one seems to realize than when Kevin Love does go to the post, hes’ dangerous, and opposing teams have adjusted to make him ineffective there. Plus, stretching the floor as he does, he doesn’t have an effective center down low to toss the ball into — Mozgov is not good enough, and Thompson is too small. And Lue’s small backcourt will have trouble defensively: All opposing teams must do is put in a large small forward who can post up, and Dellavedova will be overwhelmed, as sound on defense as he is. Sometimes great players just don’t and can’t fit together as much as they need to. Cavs would have been better served trading Tristan Thompson and Mosgov for a top-tier center — if there was a chance to do this (Memphis is that chance, since soon to lose Zach Randolph to age,

    • @ Wrong… Only when they are playing small ball teams. This team that you see, I hope will be much different.
      If they can move LeBron around more on ball movement. It will be really explosive team. The problems the Cavs are having is on the offense side. In addition, Irving and Shumpert are still coming back from injuries.

      They have four months to get this thing together.