Ty Lue and the Lakers could not come to an agreement on a contract, reports say. The Lakers wanted control over Lue’s assistant coaches, reports say. The Lakers offered Lue less money than he made as the Cavs coach, reports say. The Lakers only offered Lue a 3 year contract so his deal would expire at the same time LeBron James’ contract, reports say.
The Lakers stay messing up, we all collectively say while sighing heavily at a level of incompetence and dysfunction that seems to grow bigger with each passing minute.
There are not many more details than the ones in the first paragraph above, but those details paint a picture of an organization that is trying to address the mistakes they made with Luke Walton by applying them to the coach who followed him.
Luke Walton had a suspect group of assistant coaches, so the Lakers reportedly tried to pick Lue’s for him. Luke Walton only made it through 3 years of a 5 year contract, so the Lakers only reportedly gave Lue a 3 year offer. Walton got paid $5 million a year — well above the rate a 1st time head coach would typically receive — so the Lakers reportedly tried to offer Lue $6 million. Lue, however, is a championship winning coach and is looking at what his value is based on his accomplishments. As he should. The Lakers, seemingly played hardball with him and lost out on the best candidate they had in front of them.
The names that they will reportedly turn to now do not inspire.
Vogel was a great name as an assistant coach and I’d have welcomed him onto Lue’s staff as 2nd in command. But his record as a lead guy is mixed, recently flaming out in Orlando while his successor took, basically, the same team to the playoffs the next season.
Hollins and Woodson have both experienced success in their careers as playoff coaches who oversaw some some good teams, but neither reached the levels Lue did and both were replaced by coaches who had similar success as they did after being let go. In other words, they’re not difference makers and don’t have the pedigree as coaches to match what their best player brings to the court as a player. That’s not to say they couldn’t earn James’ respect, but that respect would have been a given if they’d only hired Lue.
And that’s really the story here. Ty Lue was the best available option to coach the team. He wanted the job and, in theory, the Lakers wanted him. How a deal didn’t get done comes down to one thing, ultimately: the Lakers stay messing up and it’s to the point where this should be the expectation moving forward rather than thinking they’ll miraculously find their way to being respectable.