The Los Angeles Clippers have found their new head coach. After a multi-week search that included a number of candidates, both inside and outside the organization, the Clippers will hire Ty Lue as their next head coach on a five-year deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Joining him on the staff as Lue’s lead assistant will be Chauncey Billups, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Lue joined the Clippers last season in what was his second stint as an assistant coach under Doc Rivers. With his connection to the team and championship pedigree, he had always been one of the favorites to get the job. He also had “significant support” from important players, according to Wojnarowski, which likely sealed the deal.
Though he’s spent most of his time on the bench as an assistant, Lue’s previous opportunity as a head coach was highly successful. Taking over for David Blatt in Cleveland, he famously helped the Cavaliers win the title in 2016, and made two more trips to the Finals before being fired a few games into the 2018-19 season.
As was the case in Cleveland, Lue will be tasked with getting a superstar-led team to the Finals, and competing for a championship. After their big moves last offseason to bring in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers suffered yet another playoff collapse, blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. The loss extended their conference finals drought to a league-worst 50 years as they failed to get out of the second round, and never got their showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, with the clock ticking on this group’s time together, they are in must-win mode. Leonard and George can both opt out of their contracts after this year, and though there’s really been no indication that either of them is itching to get out of L.A. already, the Clippers don’t have time to waste.