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Dan Hurley’s nomination surprised some within the Lakers, but it made sense

Dan Hurley’s nomination surprised some within the Lakers, but it made sense

The startling news that Los Angeles Lakers and Connecticut coach Dan Hurley has been approached about the Lakers’ head coaching vacancy has shocked many in the NBA — and some within the franchise’s walls.

The organization’s courtship of Hurley was first reported by ESPN and confirmed Thursday by The athlete Via team and league sources, it was kept secret from the public and even from several key Lakers decision-makers.

In some internal conversations, Hurley’s name began coming up as recently as last week, team and league sources said The athlete. At the time, the possibility of Hurley being the team’s next coach seemed remote. JJ Redick, an ESPN analyst and former player, was viewed as a front-runner by many in the NBA and the Lakers organization, and James Borrego, an assistant coach for the New Orleans Pelicans who He maintained a strong relationship with NBA big man Anthony Davis.

Now, Hurley, who has led Connecticut to back-to-back national championships, has emerged as a legitimate candidate, if not the favorite.

Team and league sources cautioned that the coaching search is still far from settled. Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and governor Jeanie Buss will interview Hurley in a more formal manner on Friday, in the league. The sources confirmed. There is still a chance the 51-year-old will work out a new contract with Connecticut and remain a head college basketball coach. Hurley signed a six-year, $32.1 million contract with Connecticut after the 2023 championship season. His buyout to join the NBA will be around $1.9 million.

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Redick, considered the favorite for weeks, remains a viable candidate, according to league sources.

Hurley’s profile impresses the Lakers. He checked off many of the boxes the Lakers were looking for during this process. He is seen as a tireless worker, organized and disciplined. He’s a proven tactician, running one of the best offenses in college basketball. He helped return UConn to glory after the program went nearly a decade without advancing beyond the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He is also sharp at player development and is known as a strong culture maker with a fiery personality.

It’s unclear how the Los Angeles Stars feel about Hurley’s potential as the team’s coach. Davis’ input has been at the heart of the Lakers’ search, and he has a strong relationship with Borrego, with whom he briefly overlapped in New Orleans. James tweeted his support for Hurley’s offensive system in April – ironically in response to an interview between Redick and Hurley on Redick’s “Old Man & The Three” show. James has a player option worth $51.4 million for next season.

Legendary former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who, according to several Sources, he became a respected informal advisor to the Lakers during the recruiting process, and has a strong relationship with Hurley. Krzyzewski coached Hurley’s older brother, Bobby, at Duke from 1989 to 1993, winning back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. And back in March, Dan Hurley He said Krzyzewski pushed him to take the UConn job in 2018 and for the two to speak at least twice a year.

Although Krzyzewski also has ties to Redick, who he played under at Duke from 2002 to 2006, his relationship with Hurley and the faith he showed in him was one of several factors in the process that led the Lakers to aggressively pursue him. According to team and league sources.

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Krzyzewski’s history with the Lakers dates back to 2004, when then-owner Dr. Jerry Buss made an aggressive bid to trade him away from Duke, which ultimately didn’t pan out. The Lakers tried to lure Krzyzewski with a five-year, $40 million contract, an astronomical number for a coach at the time. The market has since reset with coaches like Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, Monte Williams and Mike Budenholzer receiving eight-figure annual contracts.

Time will tell if history repeats itself with Hurley also returning to UConn at a higher salary or if he ends up accepting a lucrative offer to leave Storrs, Conn., to coach one of the NBA’s legacy franchises across the country. As shocking as Thursday’s developments were, the latest developments haven’t resolved the Lakers’ ongoing coaching search.