“For the last 2 1/2 seasons, Lue has coached LeBron James. Now that James has agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers, it’s Walton’s turn,” Ganguli wrote. “Their chat between games was just the beginning. Lue said he plans to meet with Walton and Lakers associate head coach Brian Shaw — who was Lue’s Lakers teammate for two seasons — in Las Vegas this week to discuss over dinner their new coaching challenge.”
Lue then broke down in detail what he plans to talk about with Walton and Shaw later this week.
“I’ll just tell them LeBron’s easy,” Lue said. “People get this whole thing built up like he’s hard to coach. It’s not. LeBron’s not the problem. It’s the outside tension that’s the problem. Just put added pressure immediately on the coaches, on his teammates. Now everything you do is under a microscope. … So it’s going to be a totally different change for the Lakers. They’ll be able to handle it.
“LeBron is easy to play with, very unselfish. LeBron can bring guys along, make sure they’re doing the right thing. It’s going to be good. The outside is what you’ve gotta be able to block out.”
Both Lue and Walton have quite a bit in common in terms of their career paths, as both have gone from former Lakers rookies to head coaches in the NBA.
Lue began his NBA career in Los Angeles during the 1998-99 season. He won two championships in his first three seasons in the NBA before he signed with the Washington Wizards in the summer of 2001. As for Walton, he was drafted by the Lakers in 2003 and played his first eight seasons in L.A. before being traded to the Cavaliers.
Perhaps the similarities between Lue and Walton is the reason why Lue wants to help guide him. However, it seems that he is most interested in simply trying to pay James back for everything that he gave Lue while playing for him.
“He’ll try anything once,” Lue said of James. “If it don’t work, he might be like, you know. But overall it was great. He made my job, made my life easy. Turned me into a championship coach.”
He concluded by reflecting on just how special of a player James truly is.
“Everybody he’s touched is made better,” Lue said. “Family, friends, organizations, the city of Cleveland, his players, his coaches. He made everybody’s life easier, everybody’s better. It’s tough to lose that type of piece. It was hard to swallow.”
It’s likely that nearly everyone in Northeast Ohio would agree with that sentiment.