Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue still recalls the state of emergency he was called into, receiving his first shot as a head coach in the NBA after being promoted from the bench, after the Cavs had chosen to part ways with David Blatt.
Lue remembers inheriting a mess of a locker room, one he quickly worked to fix in hopes to get his job started off the right foot.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Lue told Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “He said he was going to hire me as the next head coach. And I didn’t want it. I was scared of — the locker room was a mess. There wasn’t togetherness. I knew it would be a tough task. I knew all the pressure that would come along with it.”
The Cavs were 30-11 at the time and full of disarray. LeBron James did not trust Blatt, and he had usurped nearly all of his coach’s power and sway in the locker room — even to the point where James was not letting teammates participate in pregame introductions.
James was the de-facto captain of this mutiny, having lost confidence in him as a coach. The players were not enjoying the wins and they had suffered two losses to the Golden State Warriors, including a disastrous blowout at home — losses that stung after the Warriors celebrated their first title in 40 years in the Cleveland locker room.
Firing Blatt and consequently hiring Lue — was a David Griffin call, not one James made. Though Lue had to immediately get to work by regaining a bond in the locker room, and it all had to start with James.