Lue emerged as the frontrunner for the job once Monty Williams signed with the Phoenix Suns on Friday, and it sounds like the two sides are gaining momentum towards a potential deal. Here’s the latest on the team’s coaching search from Haynes:
The Los Angeles Lakers and Tyronn Lue are in the process of working on a contract agreement that would make Lue the franchise’s next head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lue, 42, has not accepted the position yet as both sides continue to focus on contractual parameters, sources said.
Getting Lue — a coach that won an NBA championship with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, on board would be a huge win for the Lakers to start a pivotal offseason — but he will have to hold up his end of the bargain upon arrival to in order make it a mutually beneficial partnership.
Last month, Adrian Wojnarwoski of ESPN reported that Lue sold the front office on a star-studded coaching staff with a big name associate head coach like Tom Thibodeau. However, Thibodeau reportedly isn’t interested in being an assistant, so Lue will have to go to the next-best coach available on his list.
Who could that be? According to Haynes, former Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel:
If Lue takes the job, Frank Vogel — former coach of the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic — could join his staff as a lead assistant, sources said.
Vogel was fired by the Magic last year after going 54-110 in the two seasons he served as their head coach. However, before Vogel’s brief, disappointing stint in Orlando, he was one of the most successful head coaches in the Eastern Conference with the Indiana Pacers.
During his six seasons in Indiana, Vogel finished with a winning record of 250-181 and never finished lower than fourth place in the standings. He also had a decent amount of playoff success, leading Paul George and the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals twice only to lose to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
A large part of his sustained success had to do with his defensive mind. In two of the six seasons Vogel was in Indiana, the Pacers had the best defense in the league. They never finished lower than 12th in defensive efficiency during his tenure, according to NBA.com.
Considering Lue is more known for his ability to coach a team on offense, having Vogel on his bench would provide a nice balance. The same could have been said of Thibodeau, so it appears that Lue does have a specific type of defensive-minded lead assistant he’s looking for.
While nothing is official yet, it sounds like Lue is devoted to assembling the Avengers of NBA coaching staffs, which is more than Luke Walton could say about the guys he had on his bench. Whether it’s Vogel or someone else, expect Lue to bring in a quality assistant or two. That’s good news for the Lakers, and a promising start to Lue’s tenure (even if it hasn’t officially started yet).