JJ Redick deemed as frontrunner for Lakers coaching job

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 16, 2024

The coaching hunt for the Los Angeles Lakers is now in full swing. There have been three names that are the prospective candidates to fill up the position left by Darvin Ham. Two of them are big-time individuals in the coaching world already, Sam Cassell and James Borrego. The other is an individual known for his Xs and Os knowledge due to his career as an analyst, JJ Redick. One of these three could very well be handed an interview already to patch up the LeBron James-led squad’s woes. Meanwhile, the another might be going to a different contender.

The top three Lakers HC candidates

Apr 29, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives to the net against Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) in the fourth quarter during game five of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
© Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

JJ Redick is the overwhelming favorite to land the Lakers head coaching post. The TV analyst and renowned podcast host is apparently already ‘bubbling’ in coaching circles. He has such a good shot of landing the job already. The former NBA player might only lose it if the interview process goes very terribly, per Marc Stein.

With JJ Redick nearly a lock for the position, what happens to the other candidates gunning for the Lakers’ head coaching job? For Sam Cassell, he could be going to another team that rivals the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. There is a strong belief that Doc Rivers and the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks front office will try to poach him, in case the Lakers do not pick him. Rivers plans to make an ‘aggressive push’ to land Sam Cassell. This is such that they get help in the rapidly closing championship window in the Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard era.

He still has a good shot of landing the job. This is because he is represented by Klutch Sports, the same agency that handles LeBron James. His reported acumen for calming down the egos of superstars and making them co-exist is also a big plus.

James Borrego, on the other hand, is one of the more experienced names gunning for the Lakers coaching post. The team from California has reportedly been granted permission to interview him. He was not the only person on this short list of candidates to move a step closer to landing the job. Micah Nori, Sam Cassell, and David Adelman among others have also gotten permission to be interviewed by the Lakers.

Lakers’ woes

The iconic Purple and Gold’s desire is to win their 18th NBA Championship banner first if the Celtics don’t get to do so this season. So, their 27th head coach in franchise history should be a win-now guy. However, there were a lot of issues that needed fixing. All of it showed after another early exit against the Denver Nuggets.

The first concern has to be in their rotation. Oftentimes, Darvin Ham and other members of the Lakers coaching staff could not find the sweet spot between optimizing their players and fielding the ones that are famished. Nikola Jokic and his squad ran laps around the LeBron James-led team. This is largely because their legs were running out early in the matchup.

Another issue is the Lakers’ horrid defense. The squad had a tendency to just keep outguning their opponents. This is why they ended up sixth in the league with 118 points per game. But, their coverages were just not hitting. The Lakers’ defensive rating was ranked 16th among all teams and it clocked at around 115.3 for the season.

Whether it’s JJ Redick, Sam Cassell, James Borrego or anyone else, these two concerns should be solved to keep the Lakers from sinking into irrelevance once again.