A final review before JJ Redick is introduced as the new Lakers coach

Former NBA player JJ Redick, left, chats with official Nick Buchert on the court during a timeout at a Magic-Knicks game.
Former NBA player JJ Redick, chatting with official Nick Buchert during a timeout of a Magic-Knicks game last season, will be the next Lakers coach.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)
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Hey, everyone, it’s Dan Woike of the L.A. Times, welcome back to a delayed edition of the Lakers newsletter, our weekly check-in on the team that goes directly into your inbox. This edition was going to be so juicy that we had to figure out a way to get it done.

The Lakers had a momentous week, agreeing to hire JJ Redick as their next head coach while they hit an important stage in the franchise’s life cycle.


So let’s get right to it.

There are questions, loads of them, and now we have some actual answers. Let’s try to rip through them.

Question: The Lakers hired JJ Redick. Crazy? Brilliant? Inevitable? Head-scratching?

Answer: Yes?

Q: Why did they hire someone who has never been a coach before?

A: OK, right for the big ones out of the gate. It’s complicated. Would it have happened had there been a more obvious pool of candidates? Probably not. It certainly seemed like the kinds of candidates that were available this offseason allowed for the Lakers to operate more outside the box.

The Lakers are trying to focus on the advantages of Redick’s pathway to their bench. Redick should be an open-minded and forward-thinking coach who will help the Lakers enter an era where player development takes on a larger role.

Redick has impressed people with his plans for Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the short term, helping him satisfy those immediate needs of the team.


Long answer? It’s all of that and more.

Short answer? The Lakers believe in him. (Plus UConn coach Dan Hurley didn’t take the job.)

Q: Yeah, so about Hurley?

A: It makes things a little more awkward, for sure. But a lot of the qualities the Lakers liked in Dan Hurley, they liked in Redick. The edge went to Hurley because of his experience.

Q: How’s the staffing coming along?

A: It’s moving forward but not done by any means. The Lakers want more than one former head coach on the front of their bench. Scott Brooks is one name that’s mentioned most frequently. Another first-time coach, Rajon Rondo, has people excited. While it’s going to be tough to get Jared Dudley to leave Dallas, his relationships inside the Lakers’ locker room are incredibly strong and would be valuable for Redick.

Q: So what was confusing about this whole thing?


A: The Lakers seemed concerned with optics, which would get in the way of this going as smoothly as possible. And the secrecy created by the nature of the Hurley search fueled a lot of speculation and rumors to fill in the void.

Q: Does this happen if Redick and LeBron never do a podcast together?

I was asked this question Friday morning on The Dan Patrick Show, and I said, “Maybe.” But I hadn’t really thought about it like that, at least from how the idea in general manager Rob Pelinka’s brain got formed.

I do know Mike Krzyzewski’s influence was a factor in all of this, and he certainly could have planted some seeds about Redick’s coaching ambitions.

The podcast, though, had to have been a factor in some ways. One, it showed Redick’s comfortability drawing up plays and explaining concepts. Two, and certainly more important, it showed his ability to work with James and seemingly earn his respect. Those are important steps in this process. Because he did the show with James, it doesn’t mean Redick is going to get treated like Gregg Popovich.

Q: What’s up next?


A: Well, the first round of the NBA draft is Wednesday, and the Lakers, owner of pick No. 17, will have their first big decision of Redick’s time with the organization. He’ll be in a sprint to catch up on the work the team has been doing in terms of scouting.

Before that, hopefully, he’ll go through a formal introduction as the team’s coach.

And then there are the option dates coming before the end of the month, with James and D’Angelo Russell having to make their choices.

James is expected to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent, but the overwhelming sentiment is he’ll re-sign with the Lakers. Russell’s situation is slightly more confusing, the guard needing to predict what his market will be before the start of free agency.

Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish also have player options for next season. Christian Wood has already chosen to opt in to his deal for 2024-25.

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And then there are trade discussions, the cleanest possible path for the Lakers to really change their roster. Beginning on draft night, the Lakers will be able to trade three first-round picks (including No. 17). They could combine them in some kind of mega-deal or they could split them and use one or all of them in separate deals.

The way the team has spoken about development and the issues facing teams above the second apron, a reckless addition of a third star seems less likely than a more measured approach.

Song of the week

She Don’t Use Jelly (Live)” by The Flaming Lips

Here’s a song about thinking outside the box by a band that’s very outside of the box to celebrate a coaching hire that’s outside the box.

In case you missed it

JJ Redick will be Lakers’ next coach as long search ends where it started

Plaschke: In foolishly hiring JJ Redick, Lakers continue down the road to nowhere


JJ Redick isn’t alone: How first-time NBA coaches fared with no experience

It goes beyond LeBron and a podcast: Why the Lakers decided to hire JJ Redick

Steve Kerr and Doc Rivers talk about what JJ Redick might face as Lakers coach

NBA mock draft: Lakers may make up for missing out on Jaime Jaquez Jr. last year

Bronny James worked out only for Lakers, Suns, but won’t be part of deal with LeBron, agent says

Lakers’ draft needs: Bronny James isn’t the only prospect drawing L.A.’s interest


Until next time...

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