LeBron James’ role in Lakers’ head coach search amid JJ Redick rumors

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 21, 2024

Who will the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers be? After the Lakers made their big decision to relieve Darvin Ham of his duties after just two seasons, rumors as to who will be the team’s next figurehead on the sidelines have been flying off the shelves. Former NBA sharpshooter and current ESPN analyst JJ Redick‘s name has been mentioned, as have former Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego and long-time NBA assistant Sam Cassell. Currently ramping up their efforts to replace Ham, the one constant that has remained is LeBron James‘ stance on the matter.

Through his 21 years in the league, LeBron has oftentimes been scrutinized due to his teams constantly replacing their head coach. Could James have had an influence on his past teams in terms of them making a coaching change? Perhaps this is true. But in regards to the Lakers, LeBron is staying out of these discussions this time around, allowing owner Jeanie Buss and executive Rob Pelinka to make the decision that best suits their franchise moving forward.

James has not been involved in the coaching search for the Lakers, and he has made it clear that this is the organization’s decision, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. LeBron has not held any conversations with the Lakers’ leadership about who he would prefer to be the head coach. Of course, this is significant due to James’ affiliation with Redick.

Not too long ago, James and Redick began their “Mind the Game” podcast with one another, which gives basketball fans a deep dive into the X’s and O’s of the game. They debuted their first episode with one another on March 19.

Due to this connection, Redick has been tabbed as the favorite to be the Lakers’ next head coach. While many believed that James would push for Redick to be hired in Los Angeles, LeBron is letting his franchise make this massive decision, seeing as he is nearing the end of his career. The Lakers will need to hire a head coach who they believe will be able to take the team in a new direction once James decides to retire.

Even though Redick is still viewed as the favorite for this position, there are several other candidates that the Lakers are considering.

Lakers head coach candidates

LeBron James
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Besides JJ Redick, the Lakers are also considering James Borrego and Sam Cassell as options to become their next head coach.

Borrego served as the head coach of the Hornets for four seasons from 2018-22. There, he posted a 138-163 record, failing to take Charlotte to the playoffs in all four seasons. He recently joined Willie Green’s coaching staff with the New Orleans Pelicans this past season after being an assistant in New Orleans from 2010-12.

Cassell, who played 15 years in the NBA, has been an assistant since he retired in 2009. He currently serves as a lead assistant on Joe Mazzulla’s staff with the Boston Celtics.

Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, Denver Nuggets assistant David Adelman, and Miami Heat assistant Chris Quinn are also in consideration for the position. Dallas Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney and Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori are two other candidates that have been mentioned.

Whoever the Lakers hire, that person will be tasked with leading this team to a championship. As long as James and Anthony Davis remain on the roster, the Lakers expect to be one of the final teams standing in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see who Buss and Pelinka settle on to be the organization’s fourth head coach in the last seven seasons.