Lue believes Cavs' title should've bought him time
Bruce Yeung / National Basketball Association / Getty

Tyronn Lue is a lead assistant on the title-contending Los Angeles Clippers.

But if he had his choice, Lue would still be manning the sidelines for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I won a championship there, so you have a chance and an opportunity to do something different, and you should have that leeway to be able to go through a couple challenging years," Lue told The Athletic's Joe Vardon ahead of his first meeting against the Cavs. "To win a championship and go to the (NBA) Finals should buy you a little time, you would think."

From 2015-18, Lue posted a 128-77 record in Cleveland and led the Cavs to three straight Finals appearances, including the city's first major sports title in 52 years in 2016.

After LeBron James left Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2018 offseason, the Cavaliers were expected to take a huge step back. When the team lost its first six games the following campaign, Lue was relieved of his head coaching duties.

"I don't think it should've happened,” Lue said. "When it happened, I just kind of … It puts everything in perspective. You've got to continue to keep working, it's a business - you've got to understand that. It was tough. To win the first championship ever in Cleveland history, and then make the Finals (the next two years) and then get fired six games in, it's hard to swallow and it's tough to deal with. You start thinking about things like what you could have done different or if it was going to happen if you did anything different anyway.

"You don't see that very often where a coach goes to three straight finals and wins a championship, and gets fired (the season immediately after the third finals), six games into (the season). You probably have never seen it."

Cleveland finished the 2018-19 season tied for the second-worst mark in the Association at 19-63.

The Cavs haven't fared much better this campaign under first-year NBA head coach, John Beilein, posting a 12-28 record. From forward Kevin Love's uncertain future to Beilein's inadvertent "thugs" remarks, Cleveland's season has been mired in turmoil.

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Lue believes Cavs' title should've bought him time
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