Deep down, Tyronn Lue has to be a little frustrated with Kevin Durant.
Lue just led the Cavaliers to an NBA title, his team beat the Golden State Warriors in seven games (twice on the road) and gained confidence that could carry over into next season. Then Durant goes and makes the Warriors much better. Lue’s life got harder. The Cavs aren’t in a position to make big roster moves to counter KD, they need to do it with internal improvement.
But when asked about it by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, Lue put on his former player hat and backed Durant’s right to choose.
“People get mad about what he did, but to me, I’ve been a player and I’ve been a coach. When you’re free, that means you’re free. You can do what you want to do. He opted to go to Golden State. That’s his choice,” Lue said. “But they don’t say anything or get mad when guys get cut or they trade guys. Nothing is said about that. But as soon as a guy picks a team he wants to go to, it’s a big deal. I don’t understand it. I like KD. I support him in whatever he wants to do.”
Lue makes a point a lot of players make — guys have no control over where they get drafted, over trades, and players lower down on the food chain from Durant get cut and waived all season long. The one time players get control over their working environments is free agency, and they want to take advantage of it. Just like the rest of us would with our jobs.
Adam Silver may not like what it does to competitive balance. Fans may turn on the Warriors and see them as villains. But Durant had the hammer and made the choice he felt was best for him and most likely to get him rings — you can’t judge a player by how many rings he gets then question him making a move to improve his chances of getting one.
Guys who played — like Lue — get that.