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Lakers Head Coach Frontrunner Emerges From Shadows

UConn head coach Dan Hurley, Los Angeles Lakers head coach frontrunner

After weeks of speculation about JJ Redick, James Borrego, Kenny Atkinson and others, the Los Angeles Lakers don’t look like they’ll be hiring any of them. Instead, the franchise has tabbed UConn head coach Dan Hurley as Darvin Ham’s replacement, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Frankly, Hurley’s the best candidate that’s been mentioned yet.

Lakers Head Coach Frontrunner Emerges From Shadows

A two-time NCAA champion as the head coach for the Huskies, Hurley’s been a dark horse candidate the entire time. Per Wojnarowski, he’s “been at the forefront of the Lakers’ search from the beginning…” Entranced by his abilities as a tactician and in their woeful player development department, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka “are eager to formally discuss their vision” of the franchise’s future with him as head coach.

Hurley, who was named the Naismith Coach of the Year in 2024, is only 51. With that said, he could spend at least another decade in L.A. if he lands the job. Thus, the Lakers are making this move with an eye to the future. However, like Brad Stevens with the Boston Celtics or Billy Donovan with the Chicago Bulls, he can coach a playoff-bound roster.

The Importance of Dan Hurley

Just as with players, certain coaching skills translate to the next level. In Hurley’s case, it’s his basketball IQ and ability to demand greatness from his players. His offensive philosophy will as well, as it’s awfully reminiscent of Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr’s.

“Hurley and his assistants envisioned a movement-based offense that emphasized off-ball screening over isolation plays or traditional pick and rolls,” per Michael Cohen of FOX Sports. “They dreamed of a roster stuffed with high-level passers, shooters and ‘game processors’ who could operate a system culled largely from overseas concepts.”

However, because he’s coming from the college ranks, it may reveal or lead to LeBron James’s intentions to leave in free agency. He’s long been a fan of now Arkansas head coach John Calipari. So much so that he probably would play for him if he was hired. That said, he also respects Hurley and his imaginative offense. Nonetheless, he may not see the hire as one that’ll lead to him winning another championship before he retires.

Lakers center Anthony Davis may indeed be their focus this offseason though. Los Angeles has “been committed to making (him) a significant part of the conversation on the next head coach and want to make sure that he’s aligned with how a new coach plans to feature him on both offense and defense,” per Wojnarowski.

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