Why Tyronn Lue Is The Perfect Fit For The Cavs

Jun 22, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue addresses the crowd during the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA championship celebration in downtown Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue addresses the crowd during the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA championship celebration in downtown Cleveland. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Cavaliers re-signed their championship winning coach, Tyronn Lue, and he is the perfect man to take the team forward.

After leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a NBA Championship in his first season, Tyronn Lue agreed on a new multi-year contract.

Lue, who was already one of the highest paid assistants in the league, banked on himself when he did not immediately sign a shorter, less lucrative extension offer during the season.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Lue and the Cavs agreed to a five-year deal worth $35 million.

While the payment seems steep for a Head Coach, it is a payment well worth making for the Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert.

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Following the Cavaliers’ historic triumph in June, it is easy to forget the tumultuous situation that Lue walked into following the dismissal of David Blatt.

Sitting atop the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-11 at the time, the Cavaliers’ record disguised the toxic locker room issues.

In an attempt to get onside with his superstars, namely LeBron James, Blatt was reportedly reluctant to criticize his star players.

Cleveland.com’s Chris Haynes wrote about Blatt’s preferential treatment following his dismissal in January.

"It was viewed as a blatant attempt to get in the good graces of his top talent. Blatt’s leadership was in question. Players grew tired of this treatment. The locker room started resenting Blatt’s handling, or lack thereof, when it came to dealing with his stars."

Upon his appointment, Lue changed this dynamic that had been created by Blatt, ushering in a culture of accountability for the Cavaliers. Lue did not hesitate to criticize anyone from James right down to Jordan McRae, if they were out of line.

Lue’s treatment of James is somewhat similar to the legendary relationship between San Antonio’s head coach, Gregg Popovich, and his franchise player Tim Duncan.

Lue was able to set the tone for his coaching style very early, exemplified during one of his first in-game huddles, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.

"Lue changed that the moment he first told James in a huddle, “Shut the [expletive] up. I got this,” according to a person who heard the exchange — and a few others like it."

A common and easy narrative about the Cavs for outsiders looking in is the ‘GM LeBron’ and ‘Coach LeBron’ narrative. The firing of Blatt further fuelled this narrative, with many believing James had his fingerprints all over the dismissal of his Head Coach.

Towards the end of the regular season, LeBron started acting curiously on social media, notably unfollowing the Cavaliers on several platforms, causing media speculation about a possible exit from Cleveland.

With the media circus having an effect on the team, the Cavs’ real coach and GM, Lue and David Griffin, would reign their star player in.

Following the meeting with his leaders, James put forward perhaps his best stretch of the season, taking his game to another level in preparation for the postseason.

While Lue’s leadership was certainly firm, he was fair and subsequently, he was able to quickly gain the respect and the cooperation of his players.

Lue is commonly known around the league as one of the most personable head coaches, having good relationships with players and coaches from almost every team.

His ability to relate to his players on a personal level, something Blatt tended to struggle with, is exemplified in his handling of Kevin Love.

One of Blatt’s major shortcomings was his handling of the much-maligned power forward.

Often during Blatt’s tenure, Love would be found camped out in a corner, waiting for a pass, playing passively and sometimes even found himself benched for fourth quarters of games.

After noticing Love’s increasingly passive play, Lue was able to change his star forward’s mindset by simply communicating with him.

Following a strong start to the season, Love once again faded into the periphery far too often as the season wore on, becoming an afterthought in Blatt’s offensive game plan.

However, prior to beginning his first playoff campaign as head coach, Lue pulled aside Love and had a message for his star big man, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

"“And I said, ‘Kevin, you got to be more aggressive. Tell LeBron, I’m a bad m—–f—– too, so throw me the ball.’ Be aggressive. Run the floor. If you’re open, we got to throw you the ball. You got to demand the basketball and I said, ‘Score the ball and be aggressive.'”"

Despite being early into his tenure as a head coach, Lue is already quite obviously blessed with the trait of being able to relate to his players as well as being a task master.

It’s a tough trait, and one that many coaches spend entire careers searching for. A common mistake for most coaches, especially young ones is to try and side with their players in order to earn their trust, as Blatt did.

However, the ability to find the middle ground between understander players as well as commanding their respect is something only the best coaches tend to have.

Having Tyronn Lue locked down long-term, the Cavaliers can now hope to build something close to a stable culture, similar to that of model organizations such as San Antonio or Miami.

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For a franchise that has seen four head coaches and three general managers since the beginning of the decade, stability is more than welcome.