Nuggets rival extends championship-winning coach amid Lakers rumors

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three
Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Lakers have been seeking a new head coach since parting ways with Darvin Ham after getting eliminated by the Nuggets in the playoffs for the second straight season. There have been many names attached to the job opening, including current head coaches, assistant coaches, former coaches, and even one notable media member.

The Nuggets saw their own bench tested as Michael Malone’s lead assistant David Adelman was one of the prominent assistants who was interviewed for the job. ESPN analyst JJ Redick appears to be the current favorite for the job; a fascinating subplot as he cohosts a podcast with Lakers star LeBron James.

Lakers interested in Tyronn Lue

But one of the first names attached to the job as a candidate was current Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. Lue coached the Cavaliers to a championship with LeBron James several years ago and has earned a reputation as one of the best coaches in the league.

Lue made a lot of sense for the Lakers and would be one of the few names who would be a clear and immediate upgrade over Ham. But almost as soon as Lue was rumored as a candidate, that rumor was quickly shot down. Reports came out that Lue would be staying with the Clippers and that their front office would do whatever it took to extend him.

Lue agrees to massive extension with Clippers

On Wednesday that became official as Shams Charania of the Athletic and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Lue agreed to a five-year contract extension worth nearly $70 million, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the entire NBA.

This hardly comes as a surprise as the Clippers are set to move into a massive new arena. Their owner, Steve Ballmer wants to make sure he has a good product to offer his fans, and securing one of the best coaches in the league for the near future certainly helps. Money is no issue for Ballmer as he’s one of the richest owners in professional sports and can afford whatever it takes to keep Lue in town.

Making sure that Lue didn’t cross town and join the hated Lakers likely provided great leverage for Tyronn in contract negotiations. As much as the Clippers wanted to keep Lue in their own locker room, they definitely didn’t want to see him leading the Lakers next season. For now, it’s back to the drawing board for the Lakers and it seems like JJ Redick will be the next head coach of the iconic franchise once the dust settles.