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Dan Hurley – Lakers makes a “compelling case” to be the team’s head coach

Dan Hurley – Lakers makes a “compelling case” to be the team’s head coach

UConn coach Dan Hurley told ESPN that the Los Angeles Lakers have made a “compelling case” and presented a “compelling vision” for him to become the franchise’s next coach, but he likes what he has built at two-time defending national champion UConn — and plans to make a decision on his future on Monday.

In a phone interview Sunday, Hurley told ESPN he left “very impressed” with Lakers vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss, and was spending Sunday weighing up what sources were telling ESPN about a massive long-term offer to move to the club. NBA.

Hurley flew to Los Angeles on Thursday evening, met with the Lakers on Friday and returned east on Saturday morning, Hurley said.

The Lakers’ pursuit of Hurley has accelerated in recent days after Hurley informed his management on Wednesday and his players on Thursday of the talks with the Lakers. UConn has won back-to-back NCAA titles — including 12 straight double-digit tournament victories — and has a top-five team returning next season.

Sources said Hurley was at the forefront of the Lakers’ search from the beginning of the process, even while the organization did its due diligence by interviewing several other candidates. New Orleans assistant James Borrego is the only one who conducted two personal interviews in Los Angeles, sources said.

Pelinka and Buss formally discussed with Hurley their vision for combining his dominant program — built on his tactical acumen and elite player development — with the Lakers’ brand.

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Hurley, 51, has often described his ambition to coach in the NBA and traveled to Los Angeles to explore the full picture of a partnership with one of the best franchises in basketball.

Hurley’s pursuit comes on the 20th anniversary of the Lakers’ attempt to land Duke player Mike Krzyzewski to a record contract in 2004. Krzyzewski chose to stay at Duke, but the climate had changed dramatically in college athletics and the requirement to not fundraise for it. Non-powerhouse football schools like UConn are a particularly relentless grind — and it’s expected to get even tougher.

As for the Lakers’ stars, LeBron James has been impressed with Hurley’s evolving offensive antics, and assuming he returns to Los Angeles in free agency, the possibility of using the No. 55 overall draft pick on USC freshman guard Bronny James makes Hurley an even more intriguing candidate. . If that happens, James will get the chance to play with his son and Hurley and his staff will benefit from becoming responsible for Bronny’s professional development.

In a social media post in response to a podcast interview with JJ Redick, James posted on social media platform

The Lakers are committed to making NBA forward Anthony Davis an important part of the conversation about the next coach and want to make sure he aligns with how the new coach plans to project him on offense and defense, sources said.

The Lakers have continued talks with other candidates over the past few weeks, but the possibility of Hurley landing was the focus of the Lakers’ consideration, sources said.

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Part of Hurley’s appeal is the changing landscape of NBA roster construction under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Because of the roster construction limitations imposed by the new second arena, the ability of large market teams to create competing rosters by trading multiple draft picks and young players for a third star player has been largely eliminated. In addition to the 17th overall pick in this month’s draft, the Lakers have a young core of Austin Reeves, Rui Hachimura and Max Christie who management believes can show greater improvement under Hurley’s coaching, sources said.

Having historically dominated back-to-back national title seasons, Hurley has emerged as the most popular coach in the sport — and the prospect of UConn and the Big East Conference leaving the Lakers has huge implications for both college basketball and the NBA. . Hurley built a juggernaut that conquered the sport — culminating with the first repeat NCAA champion in 17 years and a championship performance that produced the largest point differential in tournament history — 140 points.

The possibility of UConn winning a third straight title looms with the return of a preseason top-five team, but the Huskies lost two potential lottery picks (center Donovan Clingan and guard Stefon Castle) and a first-team All-American guard. (Trsten Newton) to the NBA draft.

The Lakers fired coach Darvin Ham after exiting in the first round in the Western Conference playoffs. The Hamms were 94-70 in two seasons, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2023.

Hurley is 141-58 (.709) in six seasons as UConn’s coach. The son of Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. — for whom Hurley played at the famed St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey — Dan Hurley spent nine years as a high school coach at St. Benedict Prep before quickly moving on to rebuilding college programs in Wagner and Rhode Island. His older brother, Bobby, is the head coach at Arizona State.

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