According to Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue has interviews with the Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Houston Rockets regarding their head coaching vacancies.

Lou toured the Sixers’ facilities Tuesday, Pompey said, and will meet with Pelicans executives in LA later this week before interviewing with the Rockets next week. Pompey also reported that the Clippers reached out to Lue Monday afternoon after firing Doc Rivers, considering Rivers’ top assistant a potential replacement.

Lue is the most obvious choice to inherit Rivers’ role on the Clippers, given his familiarity with the organization and roster and his championship resume as both a player and head coach. However, some factors could make it a less than ideal marriage. First, the Clippers were clearly dissatisfied with their coaching staff last season–would promoting Rivers’ right-hand man bring the level of change that Steve Ballmer desires? Second, Lue is a top candidate for vacancies around the league, and the Clippers could have to compete with other opportunities with less baggage and other perks (the Clippers can certainly beat out other teams’ financial offers, but do they want to offer a 5-year deal? Will another team give Lue better job security or a say in roster decisions?). And third, Lue and Rivers have a very tight bond–he may not be comfortable taking over the job after the Clippers dismissed the man he’s called a “father figure.”

During the 2016 All-Star weekend, Lue, then the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, said “everything I do is Doc Rivers-driven. He’s taught me a lot. Whenever I need advice, I will always talk to Doc.” He went on to say that the two were in almost-constant communication during the years they spent apart, texting to bounce ideas off of each other. It would be hard to imagine a Lue staff that didn’t feature Rivers’ input: “I could be with the Lakers and I think he would still help me out and give me advice.”

That’s not to say that he isn’t a candidate for the Clippers’ job–he clearly is, but a strong relationship with Rivers, and Ty Lue taking interviews around the league, could be hints that the replacement process won’t be as straightforward as some assumed.

For his part, Rivers is reportedly immediately engaging with teams who have head coaching vacancies, and there’s reportedly been significant mutual interest with the Sixers as well. The Sixers could name a new head coach by the end of the week, although Rivers’ dismissal threw a wrench into those plans by introducing an unexpected high-profile candidate, and Lue will not have completed all of his interviews by that point.

While the Houston Rockets are scheduled to talk to Lue next week, it has also been reported that they will interview Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Stephen Silas and Denver Nuggets assistant coach Wes Unseld Jr. With the Rockets having one of the league’s most notoriously cheap owners in Tillman Fertitta, some expect the team to go with a first-time head coach who wouldn’t demand as high a salary or as many guaranteed years as Lue. Last year, the Los Angeles Lakers chose Lue as the top candidate for their head coaching vacancy but the two sides reached an impasse when Lue held firm for a five-year contract and the Lakers refused to offer more than 3.

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Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

34 Comments

  • davidanagy davidanagy says:

    It’s been reported that the FO is going to look for their own version of a Kerr, Lue, or Nurse. It kind of feels to me like Lue may be the “backup plan” in case they don’t find anyone good, but the preference might be for a first-time HC with a modern way of thinking and a drive to prove themselves.

  • Avatar Based Freestyle says:

    Totally fine with Lue going elsewhere. We need a clean slate from the failed Doc era. Lue was here for both this season’s meltdown and the chokejob against OKC in 2014. Same thing with Cassell: loved him as a player, don’t want him as our next coach. He was here for both blown 3-1 leads.

    Bringing in a new voice from outside the organization would close the book on this era of historic playoff meltdowns once and for all.

    • Avatar Goons 1 says:

      I wouldn’t put the choke job against okc on the coaches.. That was solely on cp! However history shows us that they would’ve probably lost games 6 & 7 had they held on to win game 5

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    I’d just like to say that Doc joining Elton Brand and Tobias Harris in Philly would be bizarre to see. If they can pull of a trade for CP3 that’d be even more bizarre. They might as well complete the “Ghosts of Clippers’ Past” theme by signing Austin and Jeff Green too, while they’re at it.

    • Avatar osamu6238 says:

      I wish JJ was still with the 76ers if Doc is there. I really liked the way Doc used JJ, although always seemed like that got snuffed out in the playoffs.

      Maybe Doc can convince Brand to trade Ben Simmons for Lou and Trez.

    • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

      Sounds like if they somehow acquired Blake it would blow your mind.

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    I would feel good about JVG, Joerger, Becky Hammon, or some unexpected brilliant dark horse like a college or Euro coach. Going with Hammon would set the world on fire. Someone’s going to give her a shot. Ballmer and this front office think outside the box.

    • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

      Or Pop. That would be something.

    • Avatar dhpat says:

      Becky Hammon should be given an interview. Ok, outside from the ground breaking role as the first female HC in the NBA, more importantly, she has learned from one of the Basketball Jedi Masters, and she is not afraid to take risks (playing for Russia to make the Olympics). For what it is worth, she did head coach the Spurs summer league team a few years back, and they were successful.

  • Avatar osamu6238 says:

    The guys in the finals are making a strong case for the video coordinator turned head coach. Always loved the story of Vogel and Spoelstra working their way up from the bottom. Really not sure who is out there, but I hope this front office turns over every stone to find their guy.

  • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

    David Blatt anyone? Bron ran him out of the land and it’d be sweet revenge for Blatt to come back and do the deed. Xlnt coach and smart as hell.

  • Avatar osamu6238 says:

    Wow Doc to the 76ers. I really thought he might take a year off. He’s getting paid, seems like he was enjoying watching Austin play in the playoffs, and I thought could’ve used some time off to study other coaches in the league to improve his own coaching. I guess the concern would be that this summer there are a lot of open jobs and “contenders” like Philly, don’t really open up too often.

    As much as I don’t feel like the coaching selection should be a race issue, it is sort of nice that not all the black head coaches that got fired this year are going to get left out of other jobs.