After All That, The Lakers Hire LeBron’s Podcast Co-Host

After All That, The Lakers Hire LeBron’s Podcast Co-Host

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ESPN analyst and former NBA player JJ Redick will become the next coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski. Redick signed a four-year deal with the team Thursday morning, formally leveling up his working relationship with LeBron James from podcast co-host to coach. The 15-year vet has interviewed for several coaching vacancies over the past two offseasons, but now he’ll become the fourth head coach of the James era, assuming LeBron exercises his player option.

Since Darvin Ham was fired on May 3, the Lakers’ search for a new head coach has been messy and public. Depending on who you believe, Redick has been the choice for over a month; insiders Anthony Irwin and Shams Charania both reported that the Lakers had “zeroed in” on Redick. Charania’s reporting made it clear that James had nothing to do with the hire, which is ridiculous but also shows the kind of conditions a scoopster has to accept in order to get information from the Rich Paul camp.

It seemed that Redick’s hiring would be finalized as soon as the NBA Finals ended, until Wojnarowski came out of nowhere in early June and reported that UConn men’s head coach Dan Hurley had rocketed to the top of the Lakers’ list. Hurley’s name hadn’t shown up prior to that news, and Woj directly contradicted his pupil-turned-rival by emphasizing that Hurley had always been L.A.’s preferred hire. The Lakers ultimately offered Hurley a six-year, $70 million deal that he turned down in favor of a pay raise at UConn, causing Charania to arch an eyebrow at Woj’s scoop. Today, Woj tried to clarify the timeline:

Charania reported Thursday that Redick’s deal was “in the neighborhood of $8 million per season,” less expensive than Hurley but still slightly above-average for a head coach. The Athletic’s triple-bylined play-by-play of the search included the following nugget, expressing skepticism that the Lakers were ever going to be able to hire Hurley:

Even though the Lakers moved quickly to offer Hurley a contract that would have made him one of the highest-paid coaches in the league, several people inside the Lakers organization and externally wondered about the true overall genuineness of the pursuit and whether the franchise had been used by Hurley to get more money to stay at Connecticut. The Hurley situation was seen by one source with direct involvement in the search as a Hail Mary attempt.

The Athletic

Why would Redick want to leave the comparably cushy world of podcasting and TV analysis to take on the stressful work of head coaching? Let’s try to once again interpret the post-language stylings of Charania: “League sources briefed on Redick’s mindset say he badly wants to make the jump to NBA head coach and embrace the challenges the chair brings as he believes it is the natural transition of his basketball life.” Wrap your head around what that means while we wait to see whether this hire is enough to make LeBron stay with the Lakers.



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