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Lakers coaching search update: Dan Hurley expected to make decision Monday

UConn head coach Dan Hurley during a Sweet 16 college basketball game.
Connecticut coach Dan Hurley points out instructions during a win over San Diego State in the Sweet 16 on March 28.
(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)
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The Lakers’ coaching search could end Monday.

Dan Hurley told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski the Lakers made a “compelling case” for him to become the franchise’s next coach, but he loves what he has built leading two-time national champion UConn and and plans to make a decision on his future Monday.

Many inside and outside the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo were stunned last week when Hurley emerged as the top candidate general manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss were targeting, with people with knowledge of the search not authorized to speak publicly confirming to Dan Woike on Thursday the Lakers were expected to make an offer Friday. The Lakers’ leadership has said little since last week, giving their top candidate the weekend to weigh his options.

Here are key questions and answers we know so far entering Monday:

Here’s everything you need to know about Dan Hurley, a leading candidate to coach the Lakers who won back-to-back NCAA men’s basketball titles at UConn.

June 6, 2024

Update:

11:11 a.m. June 10, 2024Surprise Lakers head coaching candidate Dan Hurley turned down the team’s job offer Monday to remain at UConn, people with knowledge of the decision not authorized to speak publicly confirmed to The Times. Read more here.

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Why did the Lakers focus on Hurley?

UConn head coach Dan Hurley speaks to the media during a news conference ahead.
Connecticut coach Dan Hurley speaks to reporters before the Huskies’ NCAA championship game against Purdue on April 7.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

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Woike reported Thursday the Lakers are hoping Hurley, 51, will be a program builder, an experienced winner with a track record of development. Since the team moved on from embattled coach Darvin Ham, people involved in the search have pointed to a big-picture approach with the hire. The hope has been the team can find a coach who can maximize LeBron James’ final years in the NBA while establishing the kind of culture that can sustain the franchise in its next era after James, with key pieces of the future like Austin Reaves in place.

James, according to people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly, hasn’t taken an active role in the Lakers’ search beyond echoing those big-picture goals. Anthony Davis and the long-term iterations of the roster have been a primary focus — one James himself had advocated for.

Lakers legend Magic Johnson didn’t hesitate to make his choice between Lakers coaching candidates Dan Hurley and JJ Redick during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

June 7, 2024

Hurley won the last two NCAA tournaments for UConn — an incredible feat in modern college basketball, with the Huskies being the third back-to-back champions since 1990, including Mike Krzyzewski’s two titles in 1991 and 1992 with Duke.

Should he take the Lakers job, Hurley could possibly double his reported $5.35-million annual salary, Ben Bolch noted Thursday. He would also assume what might be the glitziest job in basketball while giving himself a chance to show that he can succeed at the highest level of the game.

“UConn fits me perfectly,” Hurley said on the Mike Francesa podcast earlier this week. “I do aspire, one day if the right NBA situation were to come along, I do aspire to really testing myself. … if the right situation were an organization that wants a tone setter to come in, instill a culture, young players in an organization that wants to pursue championships.”

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Why would Hurley choose UConn over the Lakers?

Connecticut coach Dan Hurley reacts during a Final Four win over Alabama on April 6.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Bolch noted there’s still historic possibilities for Hurley at the college level. The Huskies could become the first team to win three national titles in a row since John Wooden guided UCLA to seven consecutive championships from 1967-73.

Hurley signed a six-year, $32.1-million deal to stay with UConn after his 2023 national title.

There’s also no denying that Hurley’s honeymoon with his team is likely to endure for many years even with the occasional down season. While four of five starters from last season’s team are departing, Hurley has brought in transfers Tarris Reed Jr. (Michigan) and Aidan Mahaney (Saint Mary’s) and three talented freshmen to supplement a promising core of returning players.

The Lakers are pulling a page out of Jerry Buss’ script, seeking the best coach at any level to help overhaul the team at a critical juncture.

June 7, 2024

Hurley could go for the three-peat — or go to the franchise that trademarked that term in 1989 thanks to coach Pat Riley as the Lakers unsuccessfully sought a third consecutive title.

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The Lakers have been notoriously impatient with coaches, cycling through five in the last decade. They dismissed Frank Vogel two years after he won a title and Ham the year after he advanced to the conference finals.

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Would it be a surprise if Hurley snubbed the Lakers?

Connecticut coach Dan Hurley celebrates after cutting down the net.
Connecticut coach Dan Hurley celebrates after cutting down the net following the Huskies’ NCAA championship win over Purdue in April.
(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

The Lakers are a high-profile franchise with a passionate fan base, but that hasn’t always led to success courting coaches.

They famously tried, and failed, to hire Krzyzewski in 2004.

The team also targeted Tyronn Lue in 2019 and reached advanced talks before negotiations fell apart. Lue’s representatives said the Lakers didn’t make an attractive enough offer and noted a lag in communication after his second interview, while the Lakers insisted they were the ones who moved on from Lue, multiple people with knowledge of the search told The Times.

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What about JJ Redick and other candidates?

JJ Redick speaks with his wife while sitting courtside during a game between the Orlando Magic at New York Knicks.
JJ Redick speaks with his wife while sitting courtside during a game between the Orlando Magic at New York Knicks on Feb. 14.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

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Don’t count JJ Redick, James Borrego or anyone else linked to the search out yet.

The team held formal on-site interviews with Borrego, New Orleans’ lead assistant, last week and have spoken to a pool of candidates in less formal ways — a list that includes Redick and top assistants around the league such as Boston’s Sam Cassell, Minnesota’s Micah Nori and Denver’s David Adelman, Woike reported Thursday.

Redick, to date, has not had the same kind of organization-wide interview that Borrego got last week in Los Angeles. Redick still, though, remains an option the Lakers hold in high esteem while the focus shifts to Hurley.

Redick was widely viewed as the favorite to win the job before the Hurley news broke Thursday.

On Tuesday, The Times reported that despite his status as a favorite, Redick and his representatives hadn’t spoken about contract numbers with the Lakers. The Times also reported that Lakers officials had warned against premature finality, saying the team was in “no rush.”

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