Any thought that Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey may wind up coaching the Eastern Conference All-Star team can be put to rest.
The NBA announced Wednesday that Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue will coach the East squad, confirming what was already believed to be the case. The All-Star teams are led by the coaching staff with the best record in each conference, and Lue’s Cleveland Cavaliers locked up the best record in the East as of Jan. 31 with a win on Wednesday.
There was some thought the NBA may change course given that Lue’s record is 2-1, having just taken over for the deposed David Blatt. In that case, Casey and his staff would have been in line to coach with the Raptors entrenched in second in the conference. Any thought Lue may step aside was put to rest, too, as he told reporters that it’s a “tribute” to Blatt and he’s “honored” to coach the game, per Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. (Unrelated: I’ll never hear “Plain Dealer” in anything but Kid Cudi’s voice.)
So instead of Casey, Lue will become the shortest-tenured head coach to ever coach in the game. In 1982, Pat Riley coached with just 32 games under his belt, per ESPN Stats & Info. Lue will be at 11 when the break rolls around.
Speaking of Riley, Gregg Popovich will coach the Western Conference All-Stars due to what’s known as the Riley Rule. Teams can’t have their staff coach in back-to-back years, so even with the Warriors ahead by three games, the Spurs’ staff gets the nod since Steve Kerr was that dude last season.
So, what say you? Is the Casey slight worth getting upset over? Is it even a slight? I’m of the mind that Casey isn’t being wronged here, but the league and particularly the Cavs come out of this looking extra silly – a very negative story that kind of undermines the integrity of the third or fourth best team in the league will now drag into the league’s marquee weekend. Oh well!
Maybe Casey can join Drake’s staff alongside Steve Nash and Jose Bautista for the Celebrity Game?