Tyronn Lue was named the new coach of the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers after the surprising firing of David Blatt, who was hired by the team after LeBron James’ return from Miami in the 2014 offseason.
Rumors had developed over the last year that LeBron and Blatt were clashing heads, and that their difference in philosophy had become too great to overcome. Still, both LeBron and Blatt denied the existence of irreconcilable differences, and with the Cavaliers comfortably in the top spot in the Eastern Conference, few red flags were raised.
However, the rumors roared up again after Friday’s news of Blatt’s firing. Not only was Tyronn Lue immediately named the new head coach, but he was offered a new, multi-year deal to run the team. LeBron denied the possibility that there were House of Cards-esque moves on his part that led to the switch, but most aren’t convinced.
Last night, all eyes were on Cleveland as they took on the surging Chicago Bulls in the NBA’s first Saturday night ABC primetime match-up, and they looked very much like a team in transition, mustering just 83 points against a rigid Bulls defense, and allowing Pau Gasol to have one of his better games. After the game, Lue was confident in his team’s bounce-back ability, but added that to play his preferred up-tempo style of play, the team has to get in “better shape.”
The Cavs next couple games are against the lowly Timberwolves and Suns, which could be two opportunities for Lue to get his first victory as a head coach in the NBA.