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Cleveland Cavaliers betting on Tyronn Lue to elevate play
2:34 | NBA
Cleveland Cavaliers betting on Tyronn Lue to elevate play
Friday January 22nd, 2016

On Friday, the Cleveland Cavaliers relieved David Blatt of his coaching duties and promoted associate head coach Tyronn Lue to the job with a reported three-year deal.

Lue, a longtime point guard in the NBA, emerged as a top candidate for the Cavaliers’ head coaching vacancy in 2014 before eventually joining the team as an assistant.

Here’s a brief overview of the new man in charge of the Cavaliers.

• JENKINS: High drama, high stakes: Cavs fire Blatt with NBA title in mind

Playing Career

Otto Greule/Allsport

Lue was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 23rd pick in the 1998 NBA draft after playing three seasons at Nebraska. On draft night, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Tony Battie in exchange for Nick Van Exel.

• GOLLIVER: Inability to get on same page doomed LeBron-Blatt pairing

In three seasons with the Lakers, he played on two championship teams in a limited role. He is remembered for guarding Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson in the 2001 NBA Finals and getting stepped over after an iconic jumpshot.

After seeing action in 15 playoff games with the Lakers during their 2000–01 title run, Lue played just three more over the course of his career. He spent time with the Wizards, Magic, Rockets, Hawks, Mavericks and Bucks. He had his best season in 2004–05 with the Hawks, averaging 13.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

• MAHONEY: LeBron James’s imprint all over Cavs’ decision to fire Blatt

Coaching Career

Lisa Blumenfield/Getty Images

Lue was named director of basketball development by the Celtics on October 23, 2009, and spent four seasons there before joining the Clippers as an assistant in 2013. 

In Los Angeles, Lue helped Doc Rivers lead the Clippers to the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the West. After advancing past the Warriors 4–3 in the first round, they were bounced by the Thunder in six games in the second round.

Cleveland Cavaliers

David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

In the summer of 2014, Lue emerged as a candidate for the Cavaliers’ head coaching vacancy. After the team announced David Blatt as its head coach, Lue signed one of the most lucrative assistant coaching deals in the NBA, worth $6.5 million over four years. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul, were pushing for Lue to get the head job.

• JENKINS: LeBron’s Time: James feeling urgency to win in Cleveland

In the 2015 postseason, Lue saved Blatt from a coaching blunder in a game against the Chicago Bulls, when he prevented Blatt from calling a timeout that the team didn’t have.

“It was huge honestly ... That’s why we’re a unit, we’re a team ... Players make mistakes, coaches make mistakes,” James said about Lue pulling back Blatt.

 Cavs receive an A in Sports Illustrated’s NBA midseason grades

After a 30–11 start to the 2015–16 season, Blatt was fired by the Cavaliers, and Lue was given the job shortly after.

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