Coaching LeBron James is no easy task, as Tyronn Lue found out over the past two-and-a-half seasons. Now, Lue is hoping to help make the task easier on James’ new coach, Luke Walton, and they are meeting over breakfast in Las Vegas, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
Lue: ‘I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy’
Lue will be meeting with Walton and former teammate Brian Shaw on Monday for breakfast, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Shaw, who currently serves as Walton’s associate head, played with Lue in Los Angeles in the early 2000s, and the two remain close friends. The idea of meeting as a group came up during a break in Saturday’s Summer League action, per Ganguli.
While coaching James may not have always been straightforward, Lue’s message to Walton and Shaw is just that:
“I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy. People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach. It’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope. … So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers. They’ll be able to handle it.”
James’ Cavaliers teammates struggled playing alongside James
Several Cleveland players seemed tepid at best when discussing what it was like playing alongside James this past season.
Both J.R. Smith and Jordan Clarkson described playing with the four-time MVP as “a gift and a curse” in a June article from Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Larry Nance added that, “You can’t turn on ESPN or SportsCenter without everybody else like, ‘Oh, LeBron’s got no help,’ and all that stuff.”
Rodney Hood, who went from averaging over 16 points a game in Utah to riding the bench in Cleveland, had some of the most harsh words when he spoke to The Undefeated: “You lose a game and you feel like the world is coming down. You win, it’s like, you’re supposed to win. It’s still a struggle to me to adapt to that.”
Still, others defended James vehemently. Tristan Thompson, who won the 2016 NBA championship with James, was one of those players: “I wouldn’t say it’s a curse. It’s definitely a blessing, because I definitely ate the fruits of his labor really well.”
Lue seems to be taking Thompson’s side for the breakfast with Walton and Shaw, per ESPN.
“I just want to let him know, the [expletive] that people say and you read, Bron’s not like that. Like, they make it seem like he’s hard on the coach, he’s hard on [the organization]. He’s nothing like that. That’s the most important thing I want to convey with him: that he’s not like that.”
Lue isn’t the only resource Walton has used: He’s reached out to Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and already spoken with James’ former teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
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