The very much in demand Tyronn Lue has landed in Houston to talk with Daryl Morey and the Rockets front office about their coaching job (that discussion reportedly happens Monday). Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston caught up with Lue, who, of course, sang the praises of James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Tyronn Lue in Houston to interview w/ the #Rockets: “It means a lot just to have an opportunity to come in & interview for a head coaching job here in Houston. It’s very exciting..having an opportunity to have a chance to coach 2 MVP players in Russell Westbrook & James Harden..” pic.twitter.com/iHq5IEz7kA
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 11, 2020
Lue would be a good fit for the Rockets. He managed big egos on a team before and won a ring with them (LeBron James and Kyrie Irving). He has the gravitas to come in and get the players to listen to what he is preaching.
There are two big questions. First, does Lue want the job? Or, put more accurately, does he want this job more than the Clippers’ or Pelicans’ jobs (he was interviewing with both of those teams as well). Lue is in demand and can choose the place he feels is the best fit for him and his family, and where he can win. Does he believe he can contend for a title with a small-ball team led by Harden and Westbrook?
Second, will owner Tillman Fertitta pay Lue’s going rate (which will be on the higher end of coaching salaries, and for five guaranteed years)? Fertitta has been a reluctant spender as an owner, is this where he is going to put his resources? (To be fair, the question of willingness to pay also clouds the idea of Lue to New Orleans.)
Jeff Van Gundy is rumored to be very much in the mix for the Rockets’ job as well (the question of pay is valid here, too). Former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson interviewed for the job. Rockets’ assistant coach John Lucas reportedly had an impressive interview, and a number of other assistant coaches — Wes Unseld Jr. (Denver), Stephen Silas (Dallas), David Vanterpool (Minnesota), and others — are also in the mix.
Houston is taking its time with the search, as they should. The Rockets just let the best small-ball coach in the league walk out the door in Mike D’Antoni, they now need to nail this hire and win while Harden is in his prime.