NBA Rumor: Lue-LeBron Dynamic

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During an appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski outlined Lue’s desire to push back against the idea he would be hired solely because of James’ presence: “[Lue’s relationship with James] is certainly important, but I think one of the messages Ty Lue wants to get through to Rob Pelinka is, ‘I’m not here to be LeBron James’ coach. I’m here to coach the Lakers. I’m going to coach the whole group.’ I think one of the misnomers of Ty Lue’s time in Cleveland was, listen, he challenged LeBron James. He was hard on LeBron James at times. He’s not there to just be his caddy, and I do think that commanded LeBron’s respect. And I think that will be a big part of the conversation [Lue and Pelinka] have.”

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Lue said team owner Dan Gilbert also had that conversation with him. So, it was unequivocal, Lue’s coaching tenure with the Cavs was going to be on pause until he addressed the issues he said he’d been dealing with for more than a year. “It was just kind of, it was tough because of course you guys see it first,” Lue said. “I don’t come back to the bench and then you’re tweeting and doing all that stuff and it becomes kind of national. And after that kind of happened, the Chicago game, I just thought that when Koby and Dan and those guys talked to me, it was the best thing for me. Having LeBron’s validation, just being like, ‘I got it. Take some time off, get yourself ready for the playoffs. I’ll take care of the team. I’ll make sure everything is good,'” Lue continued. “And he’s playing at a high level, so he’s a man of his word.”
4 years ago via ESPN

LeBron James, who notched his 15th triple-double of the season and 70th of his career (33 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists) was asked whether Lue’s health has affected the Cavs this season. “I mean, he’s the captain of the ship, so absolutely,” James said. “We worry about his health, obviously. That’s way more important than this game of basketball. We know he’s been doing everything he needs to do to stay healthy. Take even more measures to get himself right. Everything that’s been going on with our year, it’s just another one.”
4 years ago via ESPN

James added that he and his teammates are prepared to stay the course when Lue is not feeling well. “It doesn’t catch us off-guard because he’s been dealing with it for so long now,” James said. “But any time he doesn’t come back to the bench, it’s just an alarm going off, obviously. Like I said, his health is more important. He’s not going to talk about it, so I don’t want to talk about it no more either. That’s just how he is, and I don’t want to get too much into it.”

Asked to explain, James said, “Just us trying to figure it out. It’s not for everybody. We came in here and talked about it and that’s what happens at times. Family’s not always about a bed of roses.” 18. James said his message to his teammates in the huddle was accountability. 19. “We’ve all got to be accountable for actions, accountable for how we play, how hard we play, what we’re doing for one another,” James said. “Plays that you should come up with, you should make, and when you’re losing, you tend to not want to make those plays or tend to let some plays get away from you. And we can’t afford that right now, the way we’re playing ball. So, just trying to hold everybody accountable and move on, which we did.”

There’s a lot of nuance to the Cavs’ trip to wine country. It starts with Tyronn Lue, who doesn’t drink alcohol and never has, but apparently came up with the idea for this trip his players and coaches. LeBron James is maturing into a wine connoisseur, and his 33rd birthday is Saturday. It seemed like the trip was James’ idea — an early birthday party, if you will — but he said he didn’t even know about it until last week. “This is all T-Lue, this is all coach Lue,” James said. “Whatever we were going to do, we were ready for it. For us to have a unique opportunity to go travel in wine country on one of our days off, I think it’s pretty cool that our coach, through a gruesome season, a long season and right now throughout the holidays when we’re away from our families, for us to be able to kind of get our mind away from basketball, not being with our families, to be able to go there and learn some things and also taste some great wine. Just to decompress for 24 hours, that’s pretty genuine on his behalf.”
4 years ago via ESPN

DM: LeBron is obviously strong-willed. Has his will affected the way you have to change your demeanor? Like, you’re a somewhat laid-back guy in normal circumstances. But when you are in the trenches with him, so to speak, does he change the way you interact? Tyronn Lue: No. I know how to push his buttons and I know how to get to him to get him mad and that’s a good thing. But I’ve always learned throughout my years in the NBA, just being poised on the sideline. Not going crazy every possession — on the officials, on your players. When you get to the timeouts in the fourth quarter, late-game situations, everyone is poised. Like, no one is all over the place. Everyone is locked in and you can execute better.
5 years ago via ESPN

The Cleveland Cavaliers have not adhered to their stated plan to cut down on LeBron James’ minutes, and James doesn’t seem concerned about it. “I’m fine,” James said before the Cavs’ shootaround ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. “Coach (Tyronn Lue) is going to do a good job of looking at my numbers and trying to get me rest throughout the game, but, I don’t see me having slowed down. My numbers are up. But we’ve been in a good groove and if I get rest here, couple minutes here throughout the game, couple minutes there, off days, things of that nature (he will be OK). It helps the body, but it’s whatever coach wants to do.”

At halftime of Game 7 on Sunday and with the Golden State Warriors leading by seven points, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had a final halftime message. Part of Lue’s speech was directed at LeBron James. “He told us, ‘We’ve got 24 minutes. We’ve got to play as hard as we’ve ever played in the next 24 minutes.” James said Lue looked at him and said, ‘It starts with you.’ He got on me a little bit. Told me to pick up everything I’ve been doing and give even more effort. We all responded.”

“His words resonate throughout the whole locker room, and some of the things he said I won’t bring out to the table because it’s for locker room use only,” LeBron James said when asked at Wednesday’s practice what he remembers about Lue’s address. “But just his sense of calmness and his sense of just ‘stay in the moment’ has definitely given, especially the young guys, just a confidence booster. For us as a group, when you have someone that calm and collected about what needs to be done and just staying in the moment, it just helps us go out and do our job.”

LeBron James understood the talent the Cavaliers had long before Lue was given the keys. They spoke the same basketball terminology and Lue was able to push James intellectually in his on-court decisions. That’s what impressed James the most. His basketball IQ was being matched and that automatically garnered respect. “I knew what he was capable of,” James told “I’ve had a long history with Coach Lue. … I just always believed he was ready for the moment if the moment presented itself. I was just hoping we didn’t lose him to another team. That was my thing, because I knew he was next in line [for a head job]. I was just hoping we didn’t lose him to somebody else and obviously he’s shown how valuable he is.”

However, there continue to be moments where it becomes more clear how much stronger Lue’s connection is with the Cavs’ core players. Game 1 had several examples. The most vivid were from James, who on multiple occasions made sure to explain how Lue’s actions were a factor in the victory: On the strategy of focusing the defense on Kyle Korver, who got just one shot, and allowing Dennis Schroder a playoff career-high 27 points, James said: “We had a game plan and we follow the game plan our coaching staff gives us.”

Lue acquitted himself with an excellent performance, making the right moves, decisions and play calls in Cleveland’s 4-0 sweep. “He’s just very composed,” Cavs star LeBron James said. “He’s very sure of his knowledge of the game and what needs to be done for our team to be successful. It’s great to have him standing up over there because he’s just very even-keeled. He knows what he wants from us, he demands it and for the players, we just have to go out there and demand it from each other as well.”

Tyronn Lue’s first statement as Cleveland Cavaliers coach appears to have been quietly made. Two weeks ago, Lue pulled LeBron James aside and, in so many words, told him to knock off the funny business and focus on the basketball. It came after James’ cryptic social media behavior, on-court fraternization with Dwyane Wade and off-court comments about teaming up with Wade and Carmelo Anthony and not, you know, his current teammates. Only James and Lue know exactly how this message was relayed, but it has become clear that it was received.

The Cavaliers have noticed LeBron James’ occasionally peculiar behavior of late and have addressed it with their star. Two members of the team’s top brass – coach Tyronn Lue and general manager David Griffin – have had conversations with James over the past few days regarding separate items. Lue spoke with James after Saturday’s 122-101 loss in Miami, during which at halftime James was noticeably chatting it up with his friend, Heat star Dwyane Wade, instead of warming up with the Cavs trailing by 21.

Let’s be clear about James’ role here. Did he storm into Dan Gilbert’s office after the Golden State debacle and demand that Blatt be fired? Absolutely not. But it has been clear pretty much since the day LeBron returned from Miami that he and Blatt were mismatched. More important, it has been clear within the team for months that James would welcome a scenario in which Lue, with whom James has a close relationship, takes over as head coach. James didn’t ask the Cavs to fire Blatt, according to a person familiar with his role. Then again, he didn’t have to. James is fully on board with Lue, 38, whose most memorable NBA accomplishment until now was getting stepped-over by Allen Iverson in the 2001 Finals.

David Blatt has faced similar issues. LeBron James, Brendan Haywood confirmed, called a players-only meeting in training camp last season and defined everyone’s role without the coaches present. Blatt’s plan to run the Princeton offense was reduced—some say at James’ request—to make room for Doc Rivers’ Boston play sets, which put associate head coach and former Rivers assistant Tyronn Lue in charge. James also changed a last-second play called by Blatt in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series with the Bulls, the result being a game-winner by James, a series tied 2-2 and the distinct impression that Blatt’s authority had been compromised.
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September 26, 2021 | 12:48 pm EDT Update

Ja Morant: 'I'm a Top 5 point guard'

Where do you feel you rank among the top point guards in the game? Ja Morant: Top 5. If you’re Top 5, who else is there with you? Ja Morant: Morant: Steph (Curry). I’m a big Chris Paul fan. I’d say Dame (Lillard) and (Russell) Westbrook. It’s tough. The point guard position is so loaded. Some guys have to get left out.
Your teammate, Jaren Jackson Jr., was the No. 2 breakout player, according to a poll of 15 NBA executives I did for HoopsHype. What do you expect from a healthy Jaren this season? Ja Morant: To me, personally, I think he’s No. 1 if he’s healthy. He’s been battling some injuries that set him back. A healthy Jaren is definitely the number one breakout player this season. He’s just a special talent that’s gifted. He’s 7-foot-1, can shoot the three, can put it on the floor, and can play inside. He does so much on the floor. As long as he stays healthy, which we need him to be, he’s definitely number one.
What do you think of Dillon Brooks as a defender and as a player overall for this team? Ja Morant: Dillon is an important piece to this team offensively and defensively. I’ve been saying a lot now that I feel like he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his defense, especially against some of the top guys. Some of them probably won’t admit it, but I feel like most of the games when they struggled, Dillon was guarding them. Soon, that’ll come that he gets his respect for that. Offensively, how he’s able to score the ball from all three levels is big-time for us.
Speaking of locker rooms, what are the expectations in the locker room for the Grizzlies this season? Where do you guys think you can compete on what type of level? Ja Morant: I feel like we can compete with the top teams in this league. We all have that mindset, and this chip on our shoulder we go out and play with each and every night. Now, it’s continuing to buy in and keep gelling as a team and getting better with chemistry. Having more guys step up and talk who’ve been in the game for a while to help the young guys come along. Our goal this year is to continue to be better in all areas and better than we were last year.
Granted, all of that stuff is a lot easier to say in the offseason than it is to actually feel when a player is on the outside looking in. But while it could just be a bunch of PR-friendly cliches being spewed, this team also really could be that committed to winning. Ellington certainly thinks so, and during a recent appearance on BallIsLife’s “Noble and Roosh Show,” he also outlined a few other reasons he thinks guys will be all right with not playing as much as they have in the past: “I think we have one of the older rosters, so I think guys are able to be mature about that. We understand that everybody’s not going to be able to play 30 minutes a game, so there’s going to be sacrifice. There’s going to be sacrifices that need to be made, and I think that’s part of the understanding. “But also, understanding that with the older roster, guys aren’t going to be able to play. Guys aren’t going to play every single game. I think you’re going to see sometimes guys get rested and that’s where the ‘Next Man Up’ mentality comes into play.”
It’s why he also likes that the team made sure to add a few younger players as well: “I think it’s a great combination, man, of basketball IQ, championship experience, hunger with the guys wanting more. You got a mix of guys that haven’t won championships who are hungry for championships. You got some young guys in Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, THT, you got some young guys that are dogs. I think it’s a great mix of veterans and some mid guys and some young guys. I think the roster was constructed beautifully.”