It’s been 35 years since the Clippers joined the Lakers in Los Angeles. The 2019-20 season is the first time in all those years the “Battle for LA” is between two of the Associations best teams!
With the growing anticipation of the 2019-20 NBA season, the arms race in the Western Conference between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers continues deep into the off-season. With every roster move, every coaching or front office addition, both teams are trying to gain every asset possible to become the next NBA champion.
For the Clippers adding another piece to their already stellar coaching staff and front office, seems unfair at first glance. That’s if you haven’t been paying attention to the NBA headlines for the last few months. The Clippers have reached an agreement with former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue to become the assistant head coach to Doc Rivers on Tuesday, August 20th. Now keep in mind the type of summer the Clippers have had. Coming off a first-round playoff exit in which no one gave them a chance to win much less compete, they stole two games from the defending champion Warriors.
The Clippers already had the sixth man of the year award winner Lou Williams on the roster and shocked the world by adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the franchise. Their front office boasts NBA great Jerry West, the NBA’s richest owner Steve Balmer, and Hall of Fame coach Doc Rivers leading the team. Now add in coach Lue. Between the three of them, that’s 13 Championships and with 10 of those as coaches or executives.
What’s even more astounding is the irony in all of this. First off West is a Lakers legend. The logo won his only championship as a player in L.A, a place where he spent his entire playing career. He also built two separate Lakers dynasties and was at the helm of six of their championships.
The Tyronn Lue aspect of this story is even more compelling. A former Laker, Lue was a contributor to two Lakers championships in 1999 and 2000. He also coached the Cavaliers to their first-ever NBA championship in 2016, helping LeBron James end a 52-year title drought in the city of Cleveland. He then led the Cavs to the next two NBA Finals appearances.
Lue was the favorite going into the off-season to become the Lakers, next head coach. He relationship with LeBron and his ties to the Lakers organization, clearly put him in the drivers seat to become the teams next floor general. However, the Lakers front office demanded that Lue make concessions that were unusual for a coach to make with Lue’s resume.
The fact that Lue took a job as an assistant head coach is not surprising in itself but rather it’s the team in which he now works for that is worthy of taking notice of. The Clippers are now the Lakers top rival. With Doc Rivers as the coach and Lue’s mentor, some believe this hire was made not only because of Lue’s coaching pedigree but also to spite the Lakers. The Lakers bench indeed carries a great deal of experience with Frank Vogel as the head coach, and Jason Kidd on the bench as well. However, no one in the Lakers front office or on the bench has the resume of Rivers and Lue, not to mention West.
Some believe that the Clippers hired Ty as a secret weapon against LeBron. Some think he has a way to stop or slow down LeBron that can aid Kawhi and George efforts.
There is no secret weapon to slow down LeBron. Believe me, the league has been trying to stop this guy for years. The only secret weapon is no secret at all and that’s nature. That doesn’t mean that the addition of Lue does not give a competitive advantage to the team because it does. Let’s tune in to see just how much of an advantage it gives them.
Written by Tony Yashar
Tony is a passionate sports writer and former youth sports coach. He has written for remote writer jobs, that game talk, and lewriter pro.