Tyronn Lue was the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers when Kyrie Irving hit a game-winning shot in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
The connection between player and coach, however, doesn’t mean that Irving wants Lue in Brooklyn as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, Kyrie Irving soured on former Nets head coach, Kenny Atkinson and prefers Lue. The latter is now an assistant coach under Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers and may be in line to become the team’s next head coach.
According to a source close to the situation, the push to bring Lue to Brooklyn is not Irving’s desire at the moment.
“Absolute nonsense,” I was told Saturday evening.
Background of Kyrie Irving, Kenny Atkinson & Nets Drama
How did we get here?
On Saturday, Kenny Atkinson was relieved of duties as head coach of the Nets. The night before, Brooklyn, a seventh-place team in the Eastern Conference picked up a convincing victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
It didn’t matter.
On Sunday, Nets general manager Sean Marks did sing Atkinson’s praises: “Kenny was instrumental in developing our players and building the identity and culture we have become known for over these past four seasons,” he said, per the New York Post.
“The foundation he helped put into place here is one that we will continue to build on in the coming seasons,” Marks added. “We are forever grateful for all of Kenny’s hard work and dedication to the Nets and the Brooklyn community. Kenny, Laura and the Atkinson family will always remain a part of our Nets family and we wish them nothing but the best in the future.”
Jacque Vaughn will coach the Nets for the rest of the season and says he has a rapport with Irving. “We have the immediate connection of being point guards,” said Vaughn, per Yahoo Sports.
“We’ve formed a relationship, which I’ve tried to with each guy, but I guess we’re able to talk in point guard language.”
Kyrie Irving only played in 20 games this season. Irving has dealt with thoracic bursitis in his shoulder; something Kenny Atkinson denied in December.
Irving said otherwise in the new year.
“There was some bursitis in there that was really, really impacting me,” Irving said back in January.
Irving tried to rehab and even got a cortisone shot before ultimately opting for arthroscopic surgery earlier this month to repair what the Nets classified as a right shoulder impingement.
Irving will sit out for the rest of the season, but a trip to the NBA playoffs remains very much on the table.
As for the future, I’m told that the Nets would consider retaining Vaughn, but it would depend on how the rest of the season pans out. Other names on the list that the Nets could consider include Mark Jackson, Jerry Stackhouse, Jay Wright, and Becky Hammon.