As the Cavaliers made their Las Vegas Summer League debut Friday night, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue appeared on NBA TV and was asked the obvious question: what does he think of LeBron James leaving the Cavs for the Lakers?
“It was a surprise,” Lue said. “We talked, we had dialogue all summer. But I didn’t want to ask him those questions. We have a good friendship and I respect his privacy. We just talked about basketball, talked about the draft, things you want to get better at next season.”
“But I didn’t expect it. When I saw it, I was shocked and hurt a little bit by the decision. But like I said, we talked and he said I’m his favorite guy, he loved being coached by me, he loved the four seasons we had together and this decision is solely for himself and his family and I can live with that. “
"I was shocked.... He said this decision was solely for him and his family. I can live with that."— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 7, 2018
-@cavs HC Tyronn Lue talks LeBron's decision to go to the Lakers. #NBASummer pic.twitter.com/34gmnrh8FF
Lue handled the question about as expected and, frankly, there’s not much else for him to say about it. The effects of losing LeBron are obvious and it’ll be an adjustment for Lue and the entire franchise. But this was about as candid as you’ll get from Lue.
Lue was also asked about how he envisions the Cavs playing next season without LeBron.
“I think the biggest thing is having three guards in the starting lineup that can dribble, pass and shoot,” he said. “I think that creates for themselves and for other people. With LeBron playing, we put a lot of shooters around him that you couldn’t help off of. That allowed Bron to get into the paint, putting J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver and those guys around him. You’re not going to leave those guys or they’re going to make shots. So, I think now it’s going to be a situation where we have to play faster. We have to have guys on the floor that can make multiple plays, either shooting it, dribbling it, making a pass. And that’s how we’re going to have to play this year. And with Kevin Love being our post threat, I think it’ll be good for us. I think these guys — Rodney Hood, [Jordan] Clarkson, George Hill — those guys need to make plays for us. And you still have the shooting of J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver. So it’s going to be a fun year.”
Notably, Lue alluded to Rodney Hood and mentioned him by name. Hood is still in restricted free agency limbo, and could still end up on another team. But Lue mentioning him by name is perhaps an indication that Hood is at least in the Cavs’ plans for next season. Considering that it’s July 7 and there has been zero news about Hood, that’s something.