When Tyronn Lue completed his second interview for the open Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job, a lot of attention was paid to the idea that he tried to recruit Tom Thibodeau as a lead assistant.
While that ultimately may have helped sell the Lakers on the type of impressive coaching staff Lue wants to build, it sounds like he wasn’t completely clinical in arguing why he was the right man for the job, either.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who was speaking on his latest episode of “The Woj Pod,” Lue was able to win Lakers owner Jeanie Buss over in part because he knows what it means to be a Laker, and appreciates everything that came with it for him:
”I do know in the interview process, when he (Lue) sat down with Jeanie Buss, he certainly struck the right chords with her I’m told. Jeanie Buss, for better or worse, it means something to her to hire people for high-profile jobs who have a connection to the Lakers, who love the Lakers like her father did...
“They’ve always tried to keep it in the family when they could. That’s why Magic (Johnson) was president, that’s why they’ve hired ex-Lakers all over the place. I know Ty really made a case for how much the Lakers mean to him, what it meant as a player to win a championship there, to play there and now the chance to come back as the head coach, and really struck that chord with her.”
This isn’t the first time Wojnarowski has stated this was a factor for Buss, but it is the most expanded description of how Lue argued his points.
And while some might criticize this factor, or minimize how much it should mean for the team, there is something to be said for understanding the pressure and scrutiny that comes with joining the Lakers, which are likely factors that only someone that has been employed by the team can understand.
That doesn’t mean that being a former Laker should be a mandatory quality for job applicants, or to say that it should excuse any possible nepotism or closed-off thinking, but even without the “I was a Laker once” feather in his cap, Lue really did seem like the best choice for the gig. His playbook is tailor-made to take advantage of LeBron James, with the potential to maximize the Lakers’ younger players as well. He is also certainly more of a proven commodity than Juwan Howard or Monty Williams — even if the Lakers may have been leaning towards the latter before he took the Phoenix Suns head coaching job.
Regardless of the reasoning or circumstances, it seems like the Lakers got the right guy. While they still have to get Lue to officially ink his contract, it seems he’s already prepared to celebrate how much it means to be a Laker. And it sounds like for anyone in his job interview, that won’t come as a surprise.
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