Despite some buzz to the contrary on social media, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said it was his decision — and his decision alone — to move Kevin Love to starting center.
“When we made the trade for Jae Crowder, I just thought starting Jae at (small forward) or (power forward), or wherever the toughest matchup is at that position, would give LeBron (James) a chance to be on the backline and quarterback the defense,” Lue told Mike Golic on ESPN radio Thursday.
Lue has opted to start James, Crowder, Love in the frontcourt, and Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose in the backcourt to start the season.
But some media and fans have implied that James is the man who decided on the starting lineup — particularly when it comes to moving Love to center and Tristan Thompson to reserve.
But Lue told Golic that’s not true, that Lue made the call. LeBron, however, told Love during the players’ retreat in California last month, prior to the start of training camp.
The reason for the move? Because with Wade and Rose in the backcourt, the Cavs will lack some 3-point shooting and spacing. Moving Love to center, ideally, will help in that department.
“D-Rose, D-Wade and Tristan would’ve been a little harder,” Lue said. “That was my thinking behind bringing Tristan off the bench and starting K-Love (at center). I think LeBron may have told them right before (camp). But it was all my idea.”
Lue said Thompson took the news well.
“I talked to Tristan and he was great about it,” Lue told Golic. “He’s been a big part of everything we’ve done. He said, ‘I understand. I understand we need spacing. Anything you need me to do coach, I’m here to do it for you.'”
Lue added, “It’s tough having those kinds of talks and conversations, but he handled it great.”