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6 juin 2024

Lakers Eye UConn's Dan Hurley for Head Coach Role with Major Contract Offer

Lakers Eye UConn's Dan Hurley for Head Coach Role with Major Contract Offer

Lakers Eye UConn's Dan Hurley for Head Coach Role with Major Contract Offer

The Los Angeles Lakers are setting their sights on UConn men's basketball coach Dan Hurley as their next head coach and are preparing a substantial, long-term contract offer to bring the two-time NCAA national champion to the NBA, sources revealed.

Preliminary contact has been made between the Lakers and Hurley, with plans to intensify discussions in the coming days, sources indicated. Hurley has been a leading candidate from the start, even as the organization has conducted thorough interviews with several other contenders, sources said.

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, along with governor Jeanie Buss, are keen to discuss their vision with Hurley, aiming to blend his successful program—known for tactical brilliance and elite player development—with the prestigious Lakers brand, sources mentioned.

Hurley, 51, has often expressed his ambition to coach in the NBA and has shown interest in exploring a partnership with one of basketball's most successful franchises, sources stated.

This pursuit of Hurley coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Lakers' attempt to hire then-Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to a record-breaking contract in 2004. Krzyzewski chose to stay with the Blue Devils, but the landscape of college athletics has changed significantly. The demands of NIL fundraising for non-power football schools like UConn are especially relentless and expected to become even more challenging.

As for the Lakers' stars, LeBron James has been impressed with Hurley's sophisticated offensive strategies. Assuming James returns to L.A. in free agency, the potential selection of USC freshman guard Bronny James with the 55th overall pick in this month's NBA draft makes Hurley an even more intriguing candidate. If this happens, James would have the chance to play with his son and benefit from Hurley and his staff overseeing Bronny's pro development.

In a social media post responding to a podcast interview with JJ Redick, James commented on Hurley: "He's so DAMN GOOD!!! Along with his staff. Super creative with their [offense]. Love it."

The Lakers have committed to making All-NBA forward Anthony Davis a significant part of the discussion on the next head coach and want to ensure alignment on how a new coach plans to feature him on both offense and defense, sources said.

The Lakers have interviewed several other candidates, including New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego, Redick, Boston Celtics assistant Sam Cassell, and Denver Nuggets assistant David Adelman, sources said. Conversations with other candidates have continued over the past few weeks, but landing Hurley has remained the primary focus of the Lakers' search, sources noted.

Part of Hurley's appeal lies in the changing landscape of NBA roster building under the new collective bargaining agreement. The restrictions of the new second apron have largely eliminated the ability of big-market teams to build contending rosters by trading multiple draft picks and young players for a third star player. Beyond the 17th overall pick in this month's draft, the Lakers have a young core of Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and Max Christie that management believes can improve further under Hurley's coaching, sources said.

After historically dominant back-to-back national title seasons, Hurley has emerged as the most coveted coach in the sport. The possibility of him leaving UConn and the Big East Conference for the Lakers has significant implications for both college basketball and the NBA. Hurley has built a powerhouse program, culminating with the NCAA's first repeat champion in 17 years and a tournament performance that produced the biggest point differential in tournament history: 140 points.

The prospect of UConn winning a third straight title is substantial with the return of a preseason top-five team, but the Huskies did lose two lottery picks (center Donovan Clingan and guard Stephon Castle) and a first-team All-America point guard (Tristen Newton) to the NBA draft.

The Lakers dismissed coach Darvin Ham after a first-round exit in the Western Conference playoffs. Ham was 94-70 in two seasons, including a trip to the Western Conference finals in 2023.

Hurley is 141-58 (.709) in six seasons as the UConn coach and holds an NCAA tournament record of 12 consecutive double-digit victories. A son of Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr., for whom he played at famed St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, Dan Hurley spent nine years as a high school coach at St. Benedict's Prep before rapidly rebuilding college programs at Wagner and Rhode Island. His older brother, Bobby, is the head coach at Arizona State.