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Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton were set to meet over breakfast on Monday to discuss superstar LeBron James.
After James decided to join the Lakers via a four-year deal worth $154 million as a free agent, Lue was deluged with phone calls for hours. Among Lue’s callers was Walton, who now owns the challenge of coaching one of the game’s best players.
Lue and Walton both played for the Lakers but never became teammates. However, they have a common friend in Brian Shaw, the Lakers’ associate head coach. Shaw and Lue were teammates with the Lakers from 2000 to 2001 and have remained close friends since.
Lue was the sixth coach to mentor James in his 15-year NBA career, after Paul Silas, Brendan Malone, Mike Brown and David Blatt in Cleveland, and Erik Spoelstra with the Miami Heat.
Lue, Walton Agreed To Meet Over Breakfast
In their conversation over the phone, Lue said Walton asked for advice on how to handle James, who will try to lead the young Lakers to a title.
“He told me, ‘I have my pen and paper out already. Let’s hear it,'” Lue tells told ESPN of his phone conversation with Walton. Lue and Walton initially agreed to talk over dinner in Las Vegas during the NBA Summer League but settled on having breakfast with Shaw on Monday.
“I just want to let him know, the s— that people say and you read, Bron’s not like that,” Lue says, adding that LeBron is not hard on his coach and not hard on the organization. “That’s the most important thing I want to convey with him: that he’s not like that.”
Lue said Walton has nothing to fear about James’ business circle, which includes longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter. Lue said members of James’ group are professional and are easy to deal with, contrary to what the media is projecting.
Walton Also Reached Out to Spoelstra
Aside from Lue, Walton also reached out to Spoelstra and asked him for advice about coaching James. Lue also did it in January 2016, when he was promoted to head coach following the dismissal of Blatt.
“I think talking to Spo helped me because I didn’t know what to expect because, I mean, Bron was my friend before I coached him,” said Lue, adding that Walton is lucky because he has a whole summer to work with James.
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