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Ty Lue still upset about being fired by Cavaliers: ‘I don’t think it should’ve happened’

If you were wondering whether Los Angeles Clippers assistant Ty Lue is still upset about the way that his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers ended, the answer is yes. Yes, he is. Lue coached the Cavs from 2016 to 2018 and led them to three straight Finals appearances, as well as their first NBA title in 2016. He was relieved of his duties as coach just six games into the 2018-19 season after Cleveland started with a winless record. 

“I don’t think it should’ve happened,” Lue said of his dismissal, via Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “When it happened, I just kind of … It puts everything in perspective. You’ve got to continue to keep working, it’s a business — you’ve got to understand that. It was tough. To win the first championship ever in Cleveland history, and then make the Finals (the next two years) and then get fired six games in, it’s hard to swallow and it’s tough to deal with. You start thinking about things like what you could have done different or if it was going to happen if you did anything different anyway.  

“You don’t see that very often where a coach goes to three straight Finals and wins a championship, and gets fired (the season immediately after the third Finals), six games into (the season). You probably have never seen it.”  

Lue is happy serving as the lead assistant on Doc Rivers’ staff with the Clippers, who have legitimate championship aspirations. But if it were up to Lue, he would still be in Cleveland, building upon the culture that he helped to establish there. 

“What I tried to build there, I think the culture I tried to set … I thought we could do it together,” Lue said. “Koby [Altman] being a young GM, me being a young coach, having young players. I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years. To win a championship and go to the [NBA] Finals should buy you a little time, you would think.” 

Lue proved to be an ideal coach for the Cavs during LeBron James second tenure with the team, but once James left Cleveland for Los Angeles in the summer of 2018 the organization clearly felt like Lue was no longer the right man for the job. 

Was it fair? 

Probably not. 

After leading the Cavs to three straight Finals appearances, and one title, you would think that Lue had earned a little longer leash than six games. Considering the struggles that current coach John Beilein has had relating to his team, the Cavs’ decision to get rid of Lue looks even worse in hindsight. So, while both sides have moved on, you can’t blame Lue for feeling a bit bitter about how his time in Cleveland concluded. 

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