Lakers’ Udonis Haslem issues LeBron James-level warning to LA amid JJ redick interest

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 15, 2024

Former NBA player and current ESPN commentator JJ Redick has been named as a prime candidate to fill the Los Angeles Lakers‘ head coaching vacancy for the last few weeks. Many prominent figures around the basketball world have expressed their distaste for Redick possibly jumping into the fire without any coaching experience, and another one threw his hat into that ring on Tuesday.

Former Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem thinks that hiring Redick would be a terrible idea for the Lakers, via NBA on ESPN.

“I’m gonna go ahead and say it,” Haslem said. “If it’s JJ, it’s gonna be a cynical locker room. You’re gonna see guys that are gonna say ‘is coach gonna do a podcast after the game with LeBron?’ You’re gonna have a cynical locker room with guys that are gonna side-eye everything that JJ says, ’cause they’re gonna wonder is it ‘JJ’s message or LeBron’s message?’”

Haslem was referring to Redick’s and James’ new Mind the Game podcast, where the two have been discussing their basketball knowledge at length. While Redick may be an expert on basketball concepts and mechanics, sitting in the coach’s chair is an entirely different ballgame. If Los Angeles hired him, it would look like the team hired him because he’s James’ friend.

On top of that, Haslem threw an unheralded name out there as someone the Lakers should take a hard look at.

Haslem thinks that Chris Quinn would be a better option than JJ Redick for the Lakers

Udonis Haslem speaks after his jersey was lifted to the rafters during the retirement ceremony during halftime of the game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks Kaseya Center.
© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Quinn is a name that even the most diehard NBA fans may not know of, but that could change soon. The Heat assistant coach is reportedly a potential target for Los Angeles, via CBS Sports.

“I’m not just saying this because Chris Quinn is my guy, but Chris Quinn has relationships and coached LeBron James in Miami prior to LeBron going to the Lakers, so I know he’s a guy that LeBron respects,” Haslem said. Now, is he a true, true candidate? Who knows, because we understand how this goes, you might put names out there when you already know who you’re gonna pick, but I think Chris Quinn really has an opportunity to go into that situation, some Miami Heat culture, but also sprinkled in with what they’re doing now and what LeBron likes to do.”

Balance is key in all aspects of life, including coach-player dynamics. James has earned the right to have some influence over how the operation runs, but unlike Redick, Quinn would have the trust of the entire locker room based on his track record.

“You have to have a healthy medium,” Haslem continued. “It can’t be all Chris Quinn’s way, but it can’t be all LeBron’s way. You gotta meet in the middle, and I think Chris Quinn to go in there and have the respect of LeBron James, and have the respect of the locker room, and it’s not gonna be cynical. It’s gonna be a flat, clean slate, start from scratch.”

Only time will tell if Los Angeles chases headlines instead of making a more logical, non-flashy choice.