JJ Redick to the Lakers? ESPN analyst to interview for LA coaching job, could move to ‘forefront’ of search

When the Lakers fired coach Darvin Ham in early May after a 47-35 season, the team faced the task of bringing in a new leader to pair with superstar LeBron James.

But Los Angeles’ search has dragged on as the team tries to find the best fit.

The Lakers seemed to have their man when they attempted to lure Dan Hurley away from UConn with a six-year, $70 million contract. Hurley, though, spurned the NBA to seek a third consecutive national championship with the Huskies.

That sent Los Angeles back to the drawing board. But they may have settled on another top target: ESPN analyst JJ Redick.

Redick had a long career as a shooting specialist in the NBA and has a pre-existing relationship with James. The two have cohosted a podcast during the latter half of the 2023-24 season, so perhaps their on-air chemistry could translate into a symbiotic coach-and-player relationship.

Here’s what to know about the rumors surrounding Redick and the Lakers, as well as the other candidates Los Angeles may consider hiring this offseason.

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JJ Redick to the Lakers?

Redick has been connected to the Lakers often during his coaching search. The first reports of Los Angeles’ interest came from The Athletic’s Shams Charania on May 3, the day the Lakers fired Ham. The NBA insider listed Redick among the top candidates to replace Ham, along with Mike Budenholzer and Kenny Atkinson.

Charania continued to connect Redick to the Lakers — on June 4, Charania reported the Lakers were “zeroing in” on Redick — but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski didn’t. He never mentioned Redick, his coworker, as a possibility for the Lakers job, so that led many to question whether Redick was actually a top candidate.

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On Thursday, June 13, Wojnarowski finally broke his silence about Redick. He reported the color analyst would “formally interview” for the position over the weekend and “a strong performance is expected to move him to the forefront of the franchise’s search.”

That certainly seems to position Redick as the favorite to land the Lakers’ job. It’s not guaranteed, and Redick could decline to accept the job if he isn’t ready to make the foray into the NBA’s coaching ranks. After all, Redick may have 15 years of NBA experience, but he doesn’t have any coaching experience.

That hasn’t stopped players from taking on coaching jobs before. Notably, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd landed a job with the Nets shortly after retiring in 2013. Steve Nash did something similar in Brooklyn, though he worked as a consultant for several years before jumping into the coaching ranks.

Kidd and Nash didn’t work out in their first coaching stints, but Kidd eventually developed into a quality bench leader in his third. He took Dallas to the NBA Finals in his third season with the squad. 

If Redick lands with the Lakers, he’ll hope to have similar success early in his tenure. The Lakers are in win-now mode with James now 39 years old, so going with an unproven coach is risky.

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Still, Redick is a bright basketball mind, so bringing him aboard would provide a lot of upside. And if Redick earns LeBron’s endorsement, the Lakers may be willing to make a swing-for-the-fences move to appease their star player.

MORE: Why Dan Hurley turned down the Lakers job, explained

Other Lakers coaching candidates

Redick may be the Lakers’ top target, but he is far from the only candidate for the job. Dan Hurley is off-the-board — barring a shocking change of heart — but Los Angeles has demonstrated interest in plenty of other coaches.

Below is a run-down of the coaches to whom the Lakers have had or scheduled meetings with:

  • James Borrego, current Pelican associate head coach and former Hornets coach
  • Sam Cassell, Celtics assistant coach
  • David Adelman, Nuggets assistant coach
  • Micah Nori, Timberwolves assistant coach
  • Chris Quinn, Heat assistant coach

The team was also connected to Mike Budenholzer and Kenny Atkinson, but it hasn’t yet brought either in for an interview during this cycle.

If hiring Redick doesn’t work out, Borrego seems to be the candidate in whom the Lakers are most interested.

That said, the Lakers haven’t yet hired Borrego during their month-long coaching search, so it seems like they are looking for another top candidate to lead their team. That may be why Redick is emerging as a top option at this late stage in the interview process.

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