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Shock Coaching Candidate Named As Frontrunner For Lakers Job

© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers recently put ESPN analyst JJ Redick on their coaching shortlist after firing Darvin Ham a month ago.

Shock Coaching Candidate Named As Frontrunner For Lakers Job

Redick, who works as a commentator and analyst on ESPN, is reportedly a frontrunner for the vacant Los Angeles Lakers job. The Lakers fired Darvin Ham after their first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Nuggets. Per NBA insider Shams Charania, the Lakers previously held an in-depth conversation with Redick at the NBA Combine. According to Charania, everyone around the league believes that Redick is the frontrunner and should get the job. The Lakers will progress with the second round of interviews soon.

They’re finishing up their first round of interviews this week,” Charania said on the Pat McAfee Show. “Next week, I believe, they’re going to start their second phase in this process, getting more conversations with candidates — more, maybe, basketball-centric conversations. I think a lot of it (up until) now was surface level.”

Redick, who played over 900 NBA games over the span of a 14-year playing career, saw links to the Hornets job. However, the Hornets decided to hire Celtics assistant Charles Lee. He’s a highly respected NBA vet who has become renowned for his playmaking instincts and basketball IQ. Many front offices, including the Lakers, feel like it could translate to the coaching aspect of the game.

Redick Eyes Trio of Assistants For Lakers

If Redick takes on the Lakers job, the accomplished sharpshooter is eyeing several assistants for the job. Two were interviewed for the Lakers’ head job — Sam Cassell and Pelicans assistant James Borrego. Redick also wants to hire Mavs assistant Jared Dudley. Redick’s target assistants are rich in experience, playing quality, and connections within the Lakers. Borrego spent four years as the Hornets’ head coach, and although he’s a frontrunner to take on the Cavs’ vacant spot, he could join forces with Redick. Cassell is a three-time NBA champion and an All-Star, and he has also been an assistant since 2009. Dudley spent his final years as a player with the championship-winning Lakers, building a close rapport with star players LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

As a first-year head coach without any coaching experience, Redick will undoubtedly have some difficulties. It seems reminiscent of former Nets coach Steve Nash, who was disappointed despite having Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden on his team.

“JJ has no coaching experience whatsoever. It’s hard jumping in that seat as a first-time head coach,” former Lakers player and coach Byron Scott told TMZ Sports. “My advice would be to get you a bunch of great assistant coaches because they can alleviate a lot of the pressure and a lot of the things you’re gonna be facing as a first-time head coach.”

Redick could inherit a Lakers franchise in total disarray. LeBron is dangerously close to declining his player option and signing with a different team, while D’Angelo Russell could also depart. Key role players like Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Jaxson Hayes are all expected to leave. Redick will have to step up, not just on the court, but in the draft room (they temporarily hold the 17th and 55th picks).


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