Dan Hurley

Draft Notes: Clingan, Edey, Top Tiers, Sleepers, Positional Breakdown, Bannan

The NBA has gone away from traditional big men like UConn’s Donovan Clingan and Purdue’s Zach Edey. Yet Clingan is expected to be a top-five pick and Edey could sneak into the lottery. They matched up in the national championship game and Purdue coach Matt Painter was impressed by Clingan’s ability as a help defender.

“The No. 1 thing for us wasn’t Clingan’s defense on Zach, it was Clingan’s defense in help,” Painter told ESPN’s Jeremy Woo. “We thought he was a really good post defender, but also thought Zach would have that advantage. I thought Zach had more success in that game, but where Clingan does his work and where he’s special is on the weak side coming over, helping out on drives, having that timing and the discipline to stay down. To be the second jumper, block or change shots.”

Painter believes Edey will silence the critics who don’t feel his game translates to the NBA level.

“A lot of people will say, professionally, no, you can’t do more than what you’ve done [in college]. I think that’s a fair statement most of the time,” Painter said. “But for Zach, he still was going into his sixth, seventh year of basketball … he did improve and make big strides into this last year, and he’s just going to keep doing that. I don’t think he’s going to stop. He’s kind of defied the odds already, and I think he’s going to keep defying the odds.”

Woo also spoke with UConn coach Dan Hurley to get his thoughts on what Clingan and Edey bring to the table.

We have more draft-related tidbits:

  • Clingan, Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard, UConn swingman Stephon Castle and G League Ignite forward Ron Holland rank as tier-one prospects, otherwise labeled “best bets in a bad class,” according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger. Overall, Hollinger ranks 75 prospects via a 15-tier system, with the last tier being two-way contract candidates.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony offers up his top sleeper prospects at each position. Among that group are UCLA center Adem Bona and Arizona power forward Keshad Johnson.
  • Another veteran NBA reporter, The Athletic’s David Aldridge, solicits opinions from coaches,  executives and scouts to evaluate the guard, forward and big men prospects expected to come off the board.
  • Australian forward Josh Bannan, who played three seasons at Montana before joining the Brisbane Bullets this past season, has worked out for approximately 10 NBA teams, ESPN’s Olgun Uluc tweets. The Suns, Magic, Lakers, Clippers and Warriors are among the teams who brought him in for a workout.

Lakers Notes: Redick, LeBron, Davis, Murray, Reaves

Speaking on Monday to reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN, J.J. Redick made it clear that he wasn’t offended by the fact that the Lakers publicly pursued UConn’s Dan Hurley before circling back to him, joking that, as a “two-time 55 Swish League champion in the third- and fourth-grade division,” he can’t match coaching résumés with a two-time national champion.

Lakers head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, who said Redick was always alongside Hurley in the team’s “Plan A pool” of candidates, defended the decision to hire a first-time coach by pointing out that head coaching experience and NBA experience “aren’t mutually exclusive things,” as McMenamin relays. Redick, of course, played in the league for 15 years before transitioning into a media role.

“I think in industry in general and in sports in specific, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in patterns of being in a sea of sameness and doing the same thing that everybody else is doing,” Pelinka said. “But when we embarked on this search, it was really important for us to see if we could do something a little bit different. And quickly in our conversations with J.J., it was very evident that he had a unique perspective and philosophy on basketball and how it’s to be taught.”

Pelinka told reporters that Lakers star LeBron James – Redick’s co-host on the ‘Mind The Game’ podcast, which will no longer record new episodes – was “supportive” of the club’s head coaching search but wasn’t involved in the process at all. Redick said he didn’t talk to James about the position until last Thursday, after he’d been offered the job.

Anthony Davis, on the other hand, “chose to be very involved,” according to Pelinka, who referred to the star big man as “very excited” about the hiring of Redick. The new head coach has some ideas for new ways to use Davis, as he said during his introductory press conference.

“One of the things I brought up with him is just the idea of him as a hub (on offense),” Redick said. “There’s a bunch of guys at the five position in the NBA that sort of operate in that way. I don’t know that he’s been used in that way and sort of maximized all of his abilities.”

In addition to factoring into the Lakers’ head coaching search, Davis’ opinion appeared to carry weight in the decision to part ways with Darvin Ham in the spring. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, league sources believe that concerns about how Davis viewed Ham were something the Lakers weighed when they opted to make a change.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Redick identified offensive rebounding, three-point attempts, turnovers, and defensive schematics as areas he wants to improve during his first season on the Lakers’ bench, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. According to Buha, Redick and Pelinka both talked up “player development,” pointing to the need to identify and grow young talent due to the restrictions in the new CBA. They’re already coming up with ideas for how to connect with the younger players on the roster. “J.J. and I have had some really robust conversations around innovation and sort of even gamifying player development,” Pelinka said. “We’ve talked about how do we translate coach Redick’s offensive system to app-based or a phone-based deliverable where players can be buying into a philosophy and learning it in a way that meets today’s young player. And I think innovation has got to be at the core of that.”
  • While Pelinka alluded to the restrictive CBA and stressed the importance of player development, Amick hears from league sources that if James and Davis have their way, the Lakers would do all they can to acquire another impact player this offseason. Amick adds that James isn’t content simply “coasting” through his final NBA seasons and still “desperately” wants to compete for championships.
  • Although there’s a widespread belief that James will stick with the Lakers this offseason, he has yet to give the front office any indication of his plans, Amick reports, adding that the four-time MVP appears open to playing two or even three more seasons.
  • According to Amick, the Lakers could have had Dejounte Murray from the Hawks in February if they’d been willing to add Austin Reaves to their package — that could be an option again this summer, Amick says, but L.A. continues to resist the idea of parting with Reaves in a deal for Murray.

LeBron James Reportedly Expected To Decline Player Option

Lakers superstar forward LeBron James is expected to decline his $51.4MM player option for 2024/25 to become an unrestricted free agent, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. The four-time MVP faces a June 29 deadline to finalize that decision.

Woike’s report isn’t surprising. Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, James’ agent, referred to his longtime friend and client as an impending free agent during a TNT Sports altcast at the end of last month before attempting to walk back the comment. Opting out would give James, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, the opportunity to negotiate a full no-trade clause if he re-signs with with the Lakers. A return to L.A. is widely viewed as the likely outcome.

Due to the Over-38 rule, James will be limited to a three-year contract, though the 39-year-old is reportedly may not be looking to play for more than a couple more seasons.

In his 21st season in ’23/24, James averaged 25.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 8.3 APG and 1.3 SPG on .540/.410/.750 shooting across 71 regular season contests (35.3 MPG). He averaged 27.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 8.8 APG, 2.4 SPG and 1.0 BPG on .566/.385/.739 shooting in the Lakers’ first-round playoff loss to Denver.

James extended his own NBA record last season by making his 20th All-NBA team, all of which have come consecutively. Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan are all tied in second place with 15 total nods each. James also made his 20th straight All-Star appearance in ’23/24.

Woike’s story is largely focused on the Lakers’ decision to hire J.J. Redick as their new head coach. Woike confirms the Lakers were genuinely interested and optimistic about their pursuit of UConn’s Dan Hurley, who ultimately spurned L.A. to stay with the Huskies. According to Woike, one person in a “prominent” role with the Lakers said they had “never been more shocked” in their life when they learned of the team’s secretive pursuit of Hurley.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Kings, Siakam, Gordon, Suns

While there was skepticism both inside and outside the Lakers‘ organization about how genuine the team’s pursuit of Dan Hurley earlier this month was, team owner Jeanie Buss was “highly motivated” to land the UConn head coach and was “genuinely disappointed” when it didn’t work out, sources tell Shams Charania, Sam Amick, and Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

After missing out on Hurley, the Lakers circled back to J.J. Redick, reaching a four-year deal on Thursday with the analyst and podcaster that will make him the club’s new head coach. According to The Athletic’s reporting, Redick had a phone call with Anthony Davis on Monday, which was viewed as an important step in the process, since the Lakers “prioritized Davis’ voice” throughout their coaching search. Davis and other key players were supportive of Redick’s hiring, sources tell The Athletic — while LeBron James isn’t specifically named, it’s safe to assume he approves of the choice to bring aboard his podcasting partner.

As has been previously reported, Scott Brooks, Rajon Rondo, Sam Cassell, and Jared Dudley are a few of the candidates on the Lakers’ wish list for spots on Redick’s new staff, per Charania, Amick, and Buha. However, league sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link) that the Mavericks will make a strong effort to retain Dudley, who has been an important part of Jason Kidd‘s staff in Dallas.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • A roundtable of ESPN writers discussed the Lakers‘ decision to hire Redick, sharing their thoughts on their former colleague getting his first NBA coaching job. All five panelists believe Redick will be the first Lakers head coach since Phil Jackson to remain in the position for more than three years.
  • The Kings pursued Pascal Siakam before he was sent to the Pacers, but ended those efforts after the forward reportedly conveyed that he likely wouldn’t sign with the team long-term. Appearing on The Carmichael Dave Show with Jason Ross (YouTube link), Sam Amick of The Athletic explained why Siakam wasn’t enthusiastic about going to Sacramento. “There was an inference from his camp that over the years there were, behind the scenes, somewhat disparaging remarks made that came from the Kings about his game,” Amick said. “The way it was framed to me was that – in an attempt to drive down what it would to get him – some gossipy-type feedback on his game had gotten back to him. … That is the way it was put to me from his side.”
  • Responding to a report stating that Eric Gordon is “50-50” on exercising his player option with the Suns, plugged-in local reporter John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) says he doesn’t expect the veteran wing to be back in Phoenix next season.
  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports takes a look at five guards who might make sense as Suns targets in next week’s draft, with Marquette’s Tyler Kolek topping his list. Kolek reportedly visited Phoenix this week for a workout.

Pacific Notes: Hurley, Lakers, Kings, Suns

Appearing on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (YouTube link), Dan Hurley said he didn’t use talks with the Lakers as leverage to secure a larger financial commitment from UConn, as Adam Zagoria of NJ.com relays. Hurley reportedly turned down a six-year, $70MM deal from L.A. and will receive about $20MM less in his new contract with the Huskies, which will be announced “soon,” a source told Zagoria.

This was never a leverage situation for me,” Hurley said Thursday. “I’ve had a contract situation in place for a couple of weeks, and the financial part in terms of salary has been done for a while. There’s some other parts like NIL and staff salaries and some different things that I want adjusted that I’m not comfortable with.

But the sense or the idea that this was just a conspiracy to get me a sweeter deal at UConn is just lazy and not [true]. It was truly a gut-wrenching decision for me because I was really — Sunday night going into Monday where I had kind of a deadline in my mind — I was like torn and I didn’t know really what I was going to do until I went to bed.”

However, Hurley did suggest the Lakers could have compelled him to leave UConn with a more lucrative offer.

To leave all that behind, there probably is a number,” Hurley said. “I don’t know what that is.”

J.J. Redick, who was previously viewed as the frontrunner in the Lakers’ head coaching search before Hurley’s surprising emergence, will formally interview for the position this weekend, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

Lakers To Interview Redick This Weekend For Head Coaching Job

The Lakers, still recovering from Dan Hurley‘s decision to stay at UConn, have turned back to J.J. Redick in their search for a head coach.

They will formally interview Redick for the position this weekend. If it goes well, Redick is expected to become the frontrunner to replace Darvin Ham, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Prior to their courtship of Hurley, in which they offered him a six-year deal, the Lakers seemed to be zeroing in on Redick, who has been serving as a color commentator for ABC and ESPN during the Finals.

According to Wojnarowski, Redick spoke with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka last month for approximately 90 minutes at the Chicago draft combine. They have also been in contact in recent days, with Pelinka explaining to Redick why the franchise chose to pursue Hurley.

Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss, as well as other front office personnel, will now hold a lengthy meeting with Redick to discuss the position in greater detail.

Several reports in recent weeks had pegged the longtime NBA guard as the Lakers’ top choice despite his lack of coaching experience. Redick also hosts a podcast with LeBron James, who must decide this month whether to opt in to the final year of his contract or become a free agent.

The only other candidate who has been prominently mentioned is Pelicans assistant James Borrego, who interviewed for the Cavaliers’ head coaching job on Tuesday.

One of the reasons why the Lakers were enamored with Hurley was an increased focus on player development. Pelinka still views that as a priority for the next coaching staff, per Wojnarowski. The GM is also seeking an innovative coach who can design schemes to maximize Anthony Davis at both ends of the floor.

New York Notes: Schröder, Hurley, Knicks’ Targets, Lowry, Morris, Irving

Dennis Schröder would like to stay put for a change.

After playing his first five seasons with Atlanta, Schröder has worn six different uniforms since the 2018/19 season. Schröder has one year left on his contract at $13MM but he could be packaged by the Nets in a trade. He hopes that won’t happen, NetsDaily.com relays via an interview with Germany outlet Braunschweig Zeitung.

“Brooklyn is a really cool, great organization, quite family-oriented,” he said. “I’d definitely like to stick around for the long haul — My agent and I feel like the Nets liked how I contributed. I’ve brought in more defense, teamwork and displayed leadership, but if someone as exceptional as Giannis Antetokounmpo or another superstar wants to join Brooklyn, the Nets could make deals to acquire that player … and that’s why nothing is certain in the NBA.”

There’s no evidence that the Bucks superstar wants to be dealt, but Schröder’s $13MM expiring contract could be a useful salary-matching piece in a major trade.

We have more from the New York teams:

  • Dan Hurley spurned the Lakers but he could eventually accept an NBA job closer to home, East Coast-based Adam Zagoria tweets. According to Zagoria, there’s plenty of speculation that the UConn coach will one day coach the Knicks or Nets.
  • The Knicks could have access to the $12.9MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception or the $5.2MM taxpayer exception, depending on how things shake out over the next few weeks. What players might they look at? The Athletic’s Fred Katz explores that topic, listing 10 potential targets such as Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones and Monte Morris. He also notes that Kyle Lowry was on the Knicks’ radar after his buyout with the Hornets last winter before the 38-year-old guard signed with Philadelphia.
  • Markieff Morris was part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks last season. The Mavericks forward said Irving wanted out of Brooklyn for a simple reason — he wanted to get paid, and the Nets weren’t willing to give him the sort of deal he wanted. “It was time for his contract extension, the two sides didn’t meet up, business got involved, and that’s what happened. That’s how it goes,” Morris told Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. “I think Kyrie was averaging about 27 [points per game] at the time. I think we won 18 out of 20 and all of a sudden the business got involved. That’s how it goes sometimes. A guy of Kyrie’s stature, I wouldn’t be standing for that either. Get me up out of there.”

Lakers Notes: Hurley, LeBron, Redick, Coaching Search

After turning down a lucrative offer to become the Lakers‘ head coach, UConn’s Dan Hurley issued a statement saying that he was “humbled by this entire experience” and remains committed to pursuing more championships with the Huskies (Twitter link).

Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up on Tuesday (YouTube link), Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explained that there were multiple reasons why Hurley decided to remain in Connecticut instead of making the move to Los Angeles. The unique opportunity to become the first college coach since UCLA’s John Wooden over 50 years ago to lead a team to three consecutive national titles was one important consideration, according to Wojnarowski, but it wasn’t the only one.

“Dan Hurley really studied everything that was required to be an NBA coach and the adjustments he was going to have to make,” Woj said (hat tip to RealGM). “As much as the Lakers wanted what Dan Hurley brought — his program building, his player development, the way he can forge relationships with players, the great X’s-and-O’s acumen. He’s running a lot of stuff in college that’s been intriguing to NBA coaches that they want to steal from a little bit. For all of that, Dan Hurley was going to have to adjust and knew that he had to be ready to make the adjustments in temperament, in practice time, all the things that come with being an NBA coach from college basketball. And, ultimately, Dan Hurley wasn’t there yet on doing that.”

Wojnarowski went on to say that Hurley “loved what he heard” from Lakers leaders like Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka, and liked the idea of coaching star forwards Anthony Davis and LeBron James in the short term and getting to draft and develop “Hurley-type” prospects in the long term. However, he ultimately decided he wasn’t ready to make the move to the NBA.

Wojnarowski also pushed back on the idea that Hurley was using the Lakers for leverage purposes to get a more lucrative deal with UConn.

“He had negotiated a new (UConn) deal for himself with his agent weeks ago,” Woj said. “That’s going to be, I’m told, kind of in the $8MM+ (per year) range. It’ll put him among the highest-paid coaches in college basketball. But they never negotiated off that, or leveraged off that with the Lakers. The Lakers (opportunity) was a singular moment for Dan Hurley and it wasn’t about getting his UConn number up. It already was up, and that was before UConn even knew about the Laker conversations.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Following Hurley’s rejection of the Lakers, will James follow suit by turning down his player option for 2024/25 and seeking a change of scenery? Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer explores that topic, arguing that parting ways now might be in the best long-term interests of both LeBron and the Lakers, though it’s considered unlikely to happen.
  • Jim Alexander of The Orange County Register contends that Hurley’s decision to pass on the opportunity to coach the Lakers shouldn’t come as a surprise, while Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times rips the Lakers for their failed pursuit of UConn’s head coach, describing it as a “humiliating” sequence of events for a franchise whose “reputation is diminishing.”
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst isn’t quite as harsh in his assessment of the Lakers’ situation, pointing out that things in Los Angeles looked worse than this in 2019, when their new head coaching hire (Frank Vogel) was widely known to be their third choice and franchise legend Magic Johnson was referring to Pelinka as a backstabber following Johnson’s exit from the front office. They won a title a year later.
  • Within his column on the Lakers’ situation, Windhorst says the team’s contact with J.J. Redick was “minimal” leading up to the team’s pursuit of Hurley. While the Lakers could circle back to Redick, going after Hurley may signal that they were lukewarm on the available crop of head coaching candidates, according to Windhorst, who wonders if the franchise might pursue another coach from the college ranks.
  • When Wojnarowski first reported the Lakers’ interest last week, he stated that Hurley had been at the “forefront of the Lakers’ search from the beginning of the process.” Appearing on FanDuel’s Run it Back show on Tuesday (Twitter video link), Shams Charania of The Athletic – who previously identified Redick as the frontrunner – seemed to disagree with that claim. “Last week, on Wednesday, they turned their attention, I’m told, to Dan Hurley,” Charania said. “He was not the No. 1 candidate, the No. 1 guy to go pursue from the start. But they felt like there was an opening there.” Charania added that people around the league don’t “have a great feel” for where the Lakers’ search is headed next.

Dan Hurley Turns Down Lakers’ Offer, Will Stay At UConn

Dan Hurley has passed on a six-year, $70MM contract offer to become the Lakers‘ head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that the two-time national champion will remain at UConn and will look to lead the Huskies to a third consecutive title in 2024.

According to Jeff Goodman of Field of 68 (Twitter link), Hurley – who met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka on Friday – “strongly considered” making the leap to the NBA but ultimately decided it wasn’t the right career move for him.

While he was impressed with the Lakers’ “vision for him,” Woj adds (via Twitter), Hurley didn’t want to walk away from the opportunity to make history by winning a third straight NCAA title.

Hurley is expected to finalize a new deal with UConn soon that will make him one of college basketball’s highest-paid coaches. Wojnarowski says those negotiations are ongoing, while Goodman hears from a source that Hurley has a six-year offer worth about $50MM on the table from the Huskies (Twitter link).

It’s a disappointing setback for the Lakers, who had talked to other head coaching candidates since dismissing Darvin Ham last month but had zeroed in on Hurley and made him their top choice. According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the Lakers will regroup this week and will continue interviewing other candidates for the job in the hopes of filling the vacancy before the June 26-27 draft.

James Borrego – the only candidate to have two in-person meetings with the Lakers so far, per reporting from Woj – will remain in the mix, as will J.J. Redick, whom Shams Charania and other reporters previously described as the frontrunner for the position. Wojnarowski suggests that Redick has yet to have a formal interview with L.A., though Charania said last month that the two sides spoke at length at the draft combine.

As our head coaching search tracker shows, the Lakers have also been linked to a number of veteran assistant coaches around the NBA, including Sam Cassell, David Adelman, Micah Nori, and Chris Quinn.

Dan Hurley Expected To Make Decision On Monday

Reigning two-time NCAA champion Dan Hurley intends to make a decision by Monday on whether to stick with the Connecticut Huskies or take the NBA leap with the Lakers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

During a phone interview with Wojnarowski on Sunday, Hurley praised L.A.’s “compelling case” for his commitment. He also described the Lakers’ vision for their team-building future as compelling, per Wojnarowski, who says the club has made a “massive” long-term contract offer to UConn’s head coach.

Hurley interviewed with Lakers team president Rob Pelinka and governor Jeanie Buss on Friday, then headed home on Saturday to weigh his options over the weekend.

Hurley told his Connecticut employers on Wednesday that he had been in talks with Los Angeles, and informed his players on Thursday. According to Wojnarowski, Hurley’s Huskies rank as the fifth-best team in the NCAA heading into the 2024/25 collegiate season.

The Lakers have spoken with a variety of other head coaching candidates to replace former two-year coach Darvin Ham, but among these, Wojnarowski reports that only Pelicans assistant coach James Borrego had two in-person interviews. J.J. Redick is viewed as another strong contender for the Lakers’ job if they don’t land Hurley.

Lakers star LeBron James is a fan of Hurley’s offensive acumen in particular, according to Woj, who reiterates that Hurley has emerged as Los Angeles’ hiring priority following its weeks-long search. Hurley boasts a 141-58 record (.709) across his six years with UConn, including back-to-back title runs in 2023 and 2024.