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Lakers Pivot Quickly After Being Refused By UConn Head Coach

UConn head coach Dan Hurley, former Los Angeles Lakers candidate

New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego is “back at the forefront” of the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach search, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. This news comes after UConn men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley rejected their six-year, $70 million offer on Monday.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Borrego is the only candidate to have multiple in-person interviews with the Lakers this offseason.

Lakers Pivot Quickly After Being Refused By Dan Hurley

If Borrego is indeed the favorite, the Lakers will have competition. In fact, the Albuquerque native is meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday for their coaching search.

That said, the Cavs can’t offer the prestige that comes with being the Lakers head coach. Should LeBron James re-sign, Cleveland will be hard-pressed to say their roster is more suited for an NBA title run. Lastly, the Cavs’ roster won’t come with built-in chemistry in the way the Lakers’ would, given Borrego’s familiarity with Anthony Davis.

However, the Lakers may not offer as much job security. They’ve moved on from their last three head coaches —Luke Walton, Frank Vogel, and Darvin Ham —within three seasons of their being hired. The future of the roster isn’t on solid ground either, as James may leave as a free agent this offseason. Even if not, he’s 39 years old, and won’t play for much longer. Davis himself is on the wrong side of 30, with a medical history that would put broken glass to shame.

If they’re offering similar contracts, Borrego very well could choose the Cavs over the Lakers.

JJ Redick Still In Play?

With that said, ESPN analyst and 15-year NBA veteran JJ Redick’s sustained candidacy makes even more sense. Borrego has been his stiffest competition during this coaching search. Should he take Cleveland’s head coaching gig, it only increases the chances he becomes L.A.’s head coach.

There are still several other assistants the Lakers must consider though, such as Sam Cassell (Boston Celtics) and David Adelman (Denver Nuggets). Furthermore, Redick may be miffed by how the process has played out. Early on, Redick appeared to be the frontrunner due to his playing experience, basketball IQ, and relationship with James. Indeed, per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, some believe “won’t want to be involved with this circus and that he won’t want to be a second choice…” (h/t Legion Hoops).

This may all prove to be a moot point, even if true. As none of the coaching candidates are ideal hires, the fascination the Lakers have with him makes him a legitimate candidate regardless. Of course, Redick’s resume doesn’t measure up to a two-time NCAA champion. However, his hire is much easier to swallow if it’s between him and a field of assistant coaches who were never NBA head coaches or let teams down in that role.


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