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Tyronn Lue’s Odds Are Slim On a Head Coaching Return to the NBA

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Updated Mar 31, 2020 · 8:16 AM PDT

Tyronn Lue
Ty Lue has been fired by the Cavaliers. Does he resurface this year or next? Photo by Erik Drost (Flickr).
  • Does Tyronn Lue resurface as a head coach this season?
  • Is there a market for the former Cavs coach next year?
  • Sizing up Lue’s coaching credentials

Well, forgive me for thinking that the struggle with the Cleveland Cavaliers was going to be expected, and thus believing that a coach that has led his team to a championship less than five years ago appeared to be in a secure spot.

I mean, at least longer than six games.

The Cavaliers dropped the ax on the most successful coach in their team’s history on Sunday night. He is the only coach to have an NBA Championship on his Cavs resume. He’s also one of just 10 coaches that has ever made three trips to the NBA Finals.

Now, this being the NBA, with a news cycle that churns non-stop, we may already be past the analysis of this firing. At least oddsmakers are. They’re already looking into the crystal ball. Let’s do this together.

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Will Tyronn Lue Be A Head Coach Again This Season?

Will Tyronn Lue be a Head Coach Again in 2018-19 Season? Odds
Yes +300
No -500

I’ve been on endless searches trying to find a precedent, but, at least in this modern era of basketball, no coach that gets canned in-season has ever resurfaced in the same year with a new team.

However, there might be a perfect storm brewing this season.

No head coach currently in the market for a job has the sort of recent success that Lue has.

This 0-6 start will mark the only time in his head coaching career that he will finish a regular season with a sub-.500 mark and no playoffs to show for it. The rest, is pretty impressive.

Tyronn Lue Head Coaching Record

Year Regular Season Record Finish
2018-19 0-6 Fired October 28
2017-18 50-32 Eastern Conference Championship
2016-2017 51-31 Eastern Conference Championship
2015-2016 27-14* NBA Championship

*replaced fired head coach David Blatt

Perhaps more than anything else, Lue’s coaching style can be described as player friendly. But more importantly, he was able to manage the egos of some pretty wild rosters, including that of the NBA’s biggest star in LeBron James.

Judging from the outpouring of love from his troops, I’m inclined to say it’s legit.

Coincidentally, there are a couple of franchises that are currently struggling out of the gate, with mega egos to boot, and, if things don’t get corrected quick, may be in need of a coach who has coached to June in every one of his full years at the helm.

Oklahoma City is sitting at 1-4, and it’s uncertain if anyone can get mercurial point guard Russell Westbrook to conform to an offense that doesn’t have him dominating it.

Meanwhile, it’s a sluggish 1-4 start for the Rockets, who are just a season removed from a 65-win campaign and one game of the NBA Finals.


Billy Donovan and Mike D’Antoni are good coaches. It’s still too early to think the players have tuned them out.

But just in case, someone with hardware is available, and does have experience jumping into the fray on the run, if necessary.

Will Tyronn Lue Be A Head Coach in 2019-20?

Will Tyronn Lue be a Head Coach in 2019-20? Odds
Yes +200
No -300

This is the most tried and true path for head coaches, the rinse-repeat cycle that goes on.

If Lue doesn’t catch on somewhere this year, I can’t see any way that someone doesn’t take a flier on him next year.

There were no less than eight coaching vacancies after last season. Even if that number is cut in half, Lue would likely be a prime candidate in any search.


Unless, of course, you want to asterisk his career.

Do Lue’s 50+ win seasons even happen if LeBron James isn’t on the roster for the Cavaliers? In the only extended run he’s had without James, he’s 0-6.

Granted, he deserved to at least try to work the team out of this hole and prove that. But even then, his record should speak for itself. It should buy him at least one more coaching gig.

I’d bet heavy NO that Tyronn Lue resurfaces this season, but there’s excellent value in saying YES to next year.

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