On the firing line

COMING to coach Cleveland in the middle of the 2015-2016 season, Tyron Lue immediately impressed team management when he guided the Cavs to three straight Finals appearance, including their first ever NBA crown in 2016. Of course, they still then had the sport’s most dominant player that we all know as LeBron James.

This season opened with LeBron giving hope to Laker fans that his talents would bring back Showtime to Los Angeles. The move to the west left Lue without his biggest supporter as it is widely known that LeBron was most influential in the firing of Coach David Blatt and the eventual hiring of Lue. Still to show a win after six starts in this young NBA season, Cleveland, with all the requisite bull crap, presented Lue his walking papers as a token of non-appreciation.

Reports say that Lue and general manager Koby Altman had a disagreement on player rotations. Altman preferred to have JR Smith and Kyle Korver sit and give more time to younger players. Lue did otherwise without prior consultation. Team owner Dan Gilbert also wanted more playing time for rookie Collin Sexton who’s just seeing slightly above 20 minutes of playing time.

With the current situation, there is no real chance for Cleveland reaching relevance in the years to come and a very convenient scapegoat is Tyron Lue. Even coaches who seem to have security of tenure are fired, as in the case of Toronto’s former head coach, Dwayne Casey. The league is “show us the win or find the door” kind of thing and coaches always are on the short end of the barrel.

Some of them could be waking up unemployed when December comes.  With a slow start and an impatient management, these head coaches might be biting the bullet:

BILLY DONOVAN (OKC). The Carmelo Anthony trial run failed and is now history. With new additions Dennis Schroeder and Nerlens Noel, fans are saying that they could challenge Houston as the West’s second best team. Both are contributing yet Thunder is yet to be heard with a 1-4 win-loss record. Unless OKC regroups, Donovan could find himself back to college basketball, maybe a reunion with Florida State.

TOM THIBODEAU (MIN). Yes, they have Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns but the trio don’t seem to get along playing together. The drama is not yet over as Butler still has that desire of taking his talents to a contender. Team disharmony is to be blamed on someone and coaches are more expendable than players. They won over the Lakers the other day and currently sport a 3-4 record. Win some more games and Thibs’ job could be safe.

FRED HOIBERG (CHI). Consider a promising duo of Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen.  Add big men Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and Zach Lavine and you have five players who can score at least 12 points on any given night. Hoiberg’s system was efficient during his time at Iowa State but was never successful in the NBA. Suffering a serious beating from the league’s best team and the ridiculous shooting from Klay Thompson, they sport a 2-5 slate. Unless he makes some adjustments, like Donovan, Hoiberg might be back to college ball.

LUKE WALTON (LAL). Although the possibility is more remote than the plains of Mongolia, Magic Johnson just might be contemplating on the idea with the recent loss to Minnesota. Add the grumbling about losing patience on successive losses from their new super diva. Personally, I frown on Walton’s insistence on playing small ball and the results are obvious during endgames. As to their defense, they can’t even guard a refrigerator.

The Lakers are 2-5 at the moment. Jonathan Williams and Kyle Kuzma are undersized, transplanted 5s. JaVale McGee looks like he’s more suited at the 4. How can management expect development for Ivica Zubac if he continues to ride the bench? They need big, wide bodies inside the paint and Zubac is it, no matter if he’s not athletic. A 7-footer is a 7-footer, and it sure clogs the middle. (Email: [email protected]/PN)


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