Tyronn Lue got a long-awaited, behind-the-scenes glimpse of what he hopes becomes his home-away from home.
The Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach toured the 76ers practice facility in Camden as part of Tuesday’s interview for the vacant coaching job, according to sources. He also met with Sixers managing partner Josh Harris, co-managing partner David Blitzer and general manager Elton Brand among others.
As of Sunday, Lue and former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni were the remaining candidates for the job that has been open since Brett Brown was fired on Aug. 23. Sources said the job was D’Antoni’s to turn down.
However, the Sixers spoke Monday to Doc Rivers’ representatives shortly after the head coach was fired by the Clippers.
ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins gave the impression Tuesday on the Scal and Pals podcast that Rivers could be in play in Philadelphia.
“I’ve heard he’s having a lot of conversations with the Philadelphia 76ers,” said Perkins, who played 6½ seasons for Rivers on the Boston Celtics. “Right now, that’s where he’s getting the most interest, and I think ... he would be a great fit with them.”
Rivers has also been contacted by the New Orleans Pelicans. However, sources say he appears to be happy living in Southern California. The Clippers also have to pay him for the remaining years of his contract. So he could opt to sit out next season with the uncertainty of the schedule.
Before Rivers was fired, a source said the team would prefer to name a coach this week.
Lue, a former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, has some options.
The Clippers reached out to him Monday about being a candidate to replace Rivers, who is a close friend, according to sources. Sources added that representatives of the New Orleans Pelicans are scheduled to fly to the West Coast for an informal meeting with Lue on Friday. He’s also scheduled to interview for the Houston Rockets job next week.
But Lue is interested in coaching the Sixers.
Any new Sixers coach will likely need to make players accountable for their failures, something that Brown didn’t always do. The organization is looking for a veteran coach to push and refine All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Like Rivers, Lue would bring an NBA championship resume.
He won NBA titles as a reserve guard for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000 and 2001, with the second championship coming against the Sixers. As a head coach, he led the Cavaliers to their only NBA title, in 2016.
Lue compiled a 128-83 regular-season record with Cleveland. The Cavaliers promoted him to head coach on Jan. 22, 2016, and he was fired on Oct. 28, 2018.