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With Dan Hurley staying at UConn, where do LeBron James and the Lakers go from here?

June 11th, 2024

Dan Hurley has turned down the Lakers’ coaching job to remain the head coach at UConn, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. So, who should be the Lakers’ top coaching target going forward? And will LeBron James still be a Laker next season? Our NBA writers weigh in.


Vincent Goodwill: If you thought he was leaving UConn for that circus, and a dead-end job at that, I have some beachfront property in Detroit to sell you — in December. Now, does this mean Hurley’s a lifer? Nobody can say. He could pull a Brad Stevens when nobody thought he was leaving Butler, and the number being leaked indicates where a team closer to home would have to start bidding.

Jake Fischer: Much of the word around the coaching industry was that Hurley’s family’s deep ties to the East coast would prove too strong for him to ultimately flee a budding dynasty for California. The fact that the Lakers did not put forth a godfather offer — the reported six years, $70 million isn’t so staggering compared to someone who’s already making plenty of money — likely wasn’t going to be enough to change his circumstances.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - APRIL 08:  Head coach Dan Hurley of the Connecticut Huskies signals to his players during the National College Basketball Championship game against the Purdue Boilermakers at State Farm Stadium on April 08, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Dan Hurley will return to UConn and a shot at a threepeat. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Ben Rohrbach: Unsurprised. It is a dead-end NBA gig, tied to a 40-year-old LeBron James, who is owed more than $50 million next season. He is not improving in a Western Conference that boasts Nikola Jokić, Luka Dončić, Anthony Edwards and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Lakers are 123-123 over the last three seasons. Success for Hurley in Los Angeles would have been a Western Conference finals appearance, same as Darvin Ham accomplished. Success for him at UConn could mean history, and the money between the two options turned out to be not so different.

Krysten Peek: Hurley turned down the head coaching job at Kentucky and a lucrative deal for the Lakers all in the same offseason. He also got Alex Karaban, one of his best players, to return for his junior year and, if that wasn’t enough, the Huskies are bringing in a top 10 recruiting class led by five-star Liam McNeeley. Hurley returning is a huge win for college basketball and no matter how close the decision was either way, he made the right move to return to Storrs.

Dan Titus: Smart move. Why get entangled in the Lakers mess when you’re on the path of making history as the first team since UCLA in the late ’60s and early ’70 to win three consecutive national championships? As enticing as the offer was, he has all the leverage for UConn to back up the Brinks truck.

Dan Devine: Congratulations to Dan Hurley on what I imagine will be a massive, massive raise from the University of Connecticut. And, of course, to everyone who found a way to occupy themselves during the weekend between Games 1 and 2.


Fischer: This job has always seemed like J.J. Redick’s to lose. The Lakers, by various accounts, are enamored by the similarities between once pulling Pat Riley out of a broadcaster’s booth before he began a legendary career in coaching and player personnel. He clearly has a connection with LeBron James, and a real desire to join the sidelines.

Peek: J.J. Redick gets my vote. That’s been the narrative behind the scenes the entire time and whether or not the Hurley interest was smoke because of Redick’s current role as an in-game analyst for the NBA Finals, he is now perceived as the secondary option and, I guess, the best fit for the job.

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Devine: With the caveat that coaching success is much more about the 99% of the job we don’t see than the 1% of play-calling, rotation management, timeout usage, etc., that we do:

If the idea is to find someone with experience and a reputation as a creative offensive mind who’s had a hand in building productive, efficient, winning units on that side of the ball … maybe David Adelman, off the Nuggets’ staff? After all, the Lakers have gotten an up-close-and-personal look at how effective Denver’s plan of attack is over the past couple of years. Or maybe Sam Cassell, once the Celtics’ season wraps up? Few assistants around the league are as widely respected as Cassell, whose bona fides include a stellar 15-year playing career featuring three NBA titles, followed by 15 years as an assistant, with lengthy stints as Doc Rivers’ chief lieutenant before linking up with Joe Mazzulla on what could soon be a championship-winning Celtics team.

Failing that: Maybe see if Frank Vogel’s interested. Proven championship coaches are hard to find, you know?

Titus: It’s looking like JJ or bust. If Redick passes, it’ll likely be an experienced assistant facing pressure similar to that of Darvin Ham and Frank Vogel.

Rohrbach: I guess J.J. Redick? He was high on their list before the Hurley news storm. I do not pretend to know who can turn the Lakers into a serious contender, but I do know this: Whoever it is should be demanding that same six-year, $70 million offer the Lakers reportedly put in front of Hurley.

Goodwill: Who the hell knows? Some folks around the league feel J.J. Redick won’t want to be involved with this circus, and that he won’t want to be a second choice, but he wants to coach. The Lakers seem very intrigued by him for whatever reason and the focus will smoothly shift to him. Because, who else? The coaching cycle is nearly over, and Redick does a podcast with … LeBron James.


Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James takes a rest on the court during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James takes a rest on the court during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets Saturday, April 27, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LeBron James has a player option with the Lakers. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Peek: Fact. The James family is very comfortable in Los Angeles and LeBron himself has said he’s happy as a Laker. The stars are aligning for his son, Bronny, to join him in Laker purple in gold as the first father-son duo to share the court in NBA history with the Lakers having the 17th and 55th pick in the draft. LeBron’s youngest son, Bryce, will be a senior at Sierra Canyon High School and it doesn’t make sense to uproot the family and move somewhere else when he’s this close to retirement.

Devine: Fact. He’s spent the better part of the last decade relocating every aspect of his professional and personal life to L.A. I don’t think he’s suddenly going to decide he’s opting out to, like, go team up with Joel Embiid, or whatever. I think LeBron’s going to be a Laker until he retires … which, given his current level of productivity, should come after he plays a season or two with Bronny’s son, LeBron III.

Goodwill: Fact. Because where else is he going? Does he want to win, or cash out the biggest payday? Exercise his biggest influence, or play with his son? All the agendas are conflicting and the easiest, cleanest way to accomplish them all, is to stay in Los Angeles, with the Lakers. Who’s gonna clear $50 million in cap space if James is really arriving hat in hand at their door? Those wheels would need to be put in motion by now, and there’s been very little rumblings about it. Of course, he could do anything, he COULD leave. But he won’t.

Rohrbach: Fact. To go elsewhere would almost certainly mean a significant pay cut. Besides, James appears in total control of the Lakers. They might even hire his podcast co-host to be their next head coach. They will certainly draft his son, Bronny, if he is available at the No. 55 pick. They will grant him a monster extension this summer. His business, home and family are in L.A. What else but chasing a ring as a tertiary member of an existing contender would even make sense?

Fischer: Fact. There is no other logical landing spot, for starters. James is not taking the minimum to join Phoenix or abandoning ship to hope Joel Embiid can stay healthy through a postseason run. Is he signing in Detroit? Orlando? C’mon.

Titus: Fact. LeBron’s personal life and business pursuits appear rooted in LA. Bronny’s landing spot might change things in the future, but the Lakers will pay LeBron whatever he wants to stay this offseason. He’s one of the few players in NBA history whose jersey will be retired by three teams, and I don’t envision him itching to join another squad just yet.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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