Report: Tyronn Lue and Jeff Van Gundy firmly in mix with both Rockets and Clippers

Former Rockets and current Clippers guard Patrick Beverley and Clippers assistant coach Tyronn Lue
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue is reportedly the frontrunner to become the team’s next head coach.

Jeff Van Gundy has long been linked to the Rockets.

Or maybe Van Gundy could land in L.A., Lue in Houston.

With Lue already interviewing with the Rockets, Van Gundy due up tomorrow and the Clippers advancing through their coaching search, decisions approach.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue’s candidacy for the Rockets’ head coaching job has gathered significant momentum after a meeting with Houston’s ownership and management Monday, sources tell ESPN.

Both Lue and Van Gundy are prominent parts of the Rockets’ and Clippers’ coaching searches

Lue’s candidacy has the support of prominent players on both teams, sources said. Houston had initially wanted to hire Rivers to replace Mike D’Antoni, sources said

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

The 76ers paid big to hire Doc Rivers and avoid this tangle.

The big questions:

Will the Clippers prefer Lue or Van Gundy? Will the Rockets prefer Lue or Van Gundy? If both teams prefer the same coach, which team will he prefer?

If the teams want the same coach, I’d bet on Clippers owner Steve Ballmer outspending Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta (which is why I have questions about whether the Rockets’ desire to land Rivers was realistic). Lue definitely has contractual concerns. Van Gundy, reportedly eager to return to coaching, already lives in Houston.

Timing matters, too. One team could attempt to strike first. The Clippers are a clear championship contender with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the Rockets believe they have a chance with James Harden and Russell Westbrook. As long as the money is at least solid, it’d be difficult to reject either job offer to wait on a chance at the other.

Houston won’t necessarily move too quickly, as John Lucas is still due an interview after Van Gundy. That’s a good reminder this isn’t necessarily as simple as the Clippers and Rockets each getting one of Lue and Van Gundy. Both teams have discussed other candidates. Lue is reportedly also under consideration with the Pelicans.