Lakers had ‘minimal’ contact with JJ Redick despite intense coaching buzz

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
June 11, 2024

Two decades after Mike Krzyzewski chose to stay with the Duke Blue Devils rather than be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Western Conference franchise was once again spurned by a college basketball hotshot. This time, it’s Dan Hurley, who ultimately decided to continue doing his good work as head coach of the UConn Huskies.

What does Hurley’s decision mean to Lakers HC aspirant JJ Redick?

On the left Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka talks with head coach Darvin Ham (right) prior to the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Arena.
© Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Many see Hurley’s decision as a great missed opportunity for him. After all, the Lakers are the Lakers, and no head coaching job is arguably glitzier in the NBA than that of the team. But for Redick, Hurley taking himself out of the equation seems to mean shorter odds to eventually win the Lakers coaching job. However, it appears that Redick and the Lakers are not as linked to each other in reality as the rumors suggest, based on what Brian Windhorst of ESPN recently wrote. Windhorst said that Los Angeles only had just “minimal contact.”

“J.J. Redick’s name has been attached to the Lakers job since Ham’s firing. Redick has been disciplined in not directly discussing the Lakers’ job in numerous media appearances in recent weeks even as rumors swirled around him. But his contact with the team had been minimal, sources said, leading up to the Lakers’ aggressive pursuit of Hurley.”

Redick has zero coaching experience at the college level or in the NBA, but he’s known to be a smart basketball mind. It remains to be seen whether he could parlay his hoops knowledge into coaching success in the best league in the world but for now, Lakers fans will have to wait until at least the end of the 2024 NBA Finals to finish before knowing more about Redick’s chances of landing the job. Redick is still helping out ESPN in the coverage of the NBA Finals featuring the Boston Celtics and his former team, the Dallas Mavericks.

“I would say this: My focus right now is on calling the NBA Finals,” Redick said. “I am so fortunate that I’m in this position and I get to call these Finals with Doris [Burke] and Mike [Breen], Redick said of the rumors linking him to the Lakers’ vacant head coaching gig during a recent appearance on Gojo and Golic.

“My day-to-day right now is consumed with calling games, the 19 different podcasts I feel like I have, my obligations to all of our partners. So, my focus is on the NBA Finals. I will say that.”

As pointed out by Windhorst, only Hurley and James Borrego of the New Orleans Pelicans had made visits to date with Los Angeles with respect to the Lakers’ hunt for a new head coach. Borrego could be off the board soon, as he’s a finalist for the same job with the Cleveland Cavaliers. If Borrego and the Cavs (or any other team) strike a deal, that would be better news for Redick.

Ideally, the Los Angeles Lakers, who fired Darvin Ham after losing in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs to the Denver Nuggets, would have hired a head coach before the 2024 NBA Draft, which is scheduled to start on June 26. That’s still a couple of weeks away, but the clock is ticking and there doesn’t seem to be a single candidate outside of Hurley that has Los Angeles very much interested in.