The Philadelphia 76ers are nearing a deal with Tyronn Lue to become the team’s next head coach, as first reported by Jon Johnson of WIP.
His report comes less than a day after Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported that there was mutual interest brewing between the Sixers and Lue shortly after Villanova head coach Jay Wright cut down any ideas that he would make the jump to the NBA in Philadelphia.
The 43-year-old is currently serving as an assistant under Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers, who are starting their Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. It’s his first year back as an assistant after he was fired six games into the 2018-19 season by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team he head coached for parts of four years.
After working as an assistant with the Boston Celtics and Clippers, Lue was brought on as the associate head coach of the Cavaliers in 2014-15. Midway through the following season, he was named head coach after the team moved on from David Blatt, who was not getting the full potential of his star-studded roster that featured LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
He helped turn things around in Cleveland and led the Cavaliers to their first-ever NBA championship, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors.
Over the next two years, Lue won a pair of Eastern Conference titles with the Cavaliers thanks to the heroics of James, but Cleveland could not get past the Warriors again.
It’s that track record that makes him such an appealing candidate for the 76ers. There have long been talks about the fitting of point guard Ben Simmons and star center Joel Embiid — the latter bringing a strong persona to the Sixers’ locker room.
While Brown helped steer the 76ers out of one of their darkest ages in franchise history, he was not able to get the most out of the partnership of Simmons and Embiid, along with the likes of Tobias Harris and Al Horford.
This is a Sixers team that was supposed to make a serious run at an Eastern Conference title this season, but instead, they finished sixth and were swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics. Just a day later, Brown was shown the door.
Initial hopes tab Lue to start getting the most out of those players while reaching new levels on the scales of the Simmons and Embiid partnership.