It’s no secret that Lue has the support of LeBron James, who he coached to three consecutive NBA Finals in his three years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Lue has also earned the endorsement of a few other prominent names from within the organization.
We already knew that Phil Jackson helped sway Buss towards Lue, but according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The L.A. Times, it sounds like another Lakers legend may have also had an impact on her decision:
Phil Jackson, who coached Lue, and Magic Johnson, who stepped down as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations last month, told Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss that they supported the hiring of Lue, according to a person familiar with their discussions.
Jackson and Buss posted a photo of themselves at dinner on Thursday night, and they have reportedly been in regular contact with each other, even since Johnson stepped down as Lakers president of basketball operations. During their dinner, Johnson shared his thoughts on Lue and apparently it was enough to help Lue land the job:
Johnson and Buss had a dinner Thursday night during which they discussed Buss’ pending decision. Johnson expressed his support for Lue and impressed upon Buss how difficult a feat it is to make three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, the source said. Buss had been taking her time to be deliberate and not have the Lakers rush into any decision.
The Lakers should be expected to name Lue the head coach sooner rather than later, considering the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery is less than two weeks away. If I had to guess who they’re going to send this year, my money would be on Lue, unless Johnson wants to represent the team for old time’s sake.