Sources – Lakers preparing massive offer to UConn’s Dan Hurley

The Los Angeles Lakers are targeting UConn men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley as the franchise’s next coach and are preparing a massive long-term contract offer to bring the back-to-back NCAA national champion to the NBA, officials said. sources at ESPN.

The Lakers have had preliminary contact with Hurley and the sides plan to intensify discussions in the coming days, sources told ESPN. Hurley has been at the forefront of the Lakers’ search since the process began, although the organization did its due diligence in interviewing several other candidates, sources said.

Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka and Governor Jeanie Buss look forward to formally speaking with Hurley about their vision for marrying his dominant program – built on both his tactical acumen and the elite player development – with the famous Lakers brand, sources say. said.

Hurley, 51, has often described his ambition to one day become an NBA coach and expressed to the Lakers his desire to explore the full picture of a partnership with one of basketball’s winningest franchises, officials said. indicated sources.

Hurley’s pursuit comes on the 20th anniversary of the Lakers’ attempt to hire Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to a record contract in 2004. Krzyzewski chose to stay with the Blue Devils, but the climate has changed dramatically in college athletics. The NIL fundraising requirements for non-powerhouse football schools like UConn are particularly relentless work — and expected to get even tougher.

As for the Lakers stars, LeBron James was impressed by Hurley’s sophisticated offensive actions. Assuming James returns to Los Angeles in free agency, the possibility of using the 55th overall pick in this month’s NBA draft on USC freshman guard Bronny James makes Hurley an even more intriguing candidate. If that happens, James will get the chance to play with his son and benefit from Hurley and his staff becoming responsible for Bronny’s professional development.

In a social media post in response to a podcast interview with JJ Redick, James posted on X about Hurley: “He is so GOOD!!! With his team. Super creative with their (attack). I love it.”

The Lakers are committed to making All-NBA forward Anthony Davis an important part of the conversation about the next head coach and want to make sure he’s in line with how a new coach plans to present him both on offense and defense, sources said.

The Lakers have held several interviews with other candidates, including Charlotte Hornets assistant James Borrego, Redick, Boston Celtics assistant Sam Cassell and Denver Nuggets assistant David Adelman, sources said. The Lakers have engaged in discussions with other candidates in recent weeks, but the possibility of landing Hurley has been the focus of their search, sources said.

Part of Hurley’s appeal goes back to the changing landscape of NBA roster construction under the collective bargaining agreement. Due to the new Second Apron’s roster-building limitations, the ability of large-market teams to build competing rosters by trading multiple draft picks and young players for a third-star player has been largely eliminated. Beyond the 17th pick in this month’s draft, the Lakers have a young core of Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and Max Christie who management believes can still show even greater improvement under the coaching of Hurley, sources said.

After historically dominant back-to-back national title seasons, Hurley has become the most coveted coach in the sport — and the possibility of him leaving UConn and the Big East Conference for the Lakers has huge implications for both basketball college and the NBA. . Hurley built a juggernaut that toured the sport, culminating with the first repeat NCAA champion in 17 years and a tournament performance that produced the largest point differential in tournament history: 140 points .

The possibility of UConn winning a third straight title looms with the return of a preseason top-five team, but the Huskies lost two lottery picks (center Donovan Clingan and guard Stephon Castle) and a point guard First-team All-America player (Tristen Newton) in the NBA draft.

The Lakers fired coach Darvin Ham after a first-round elimination 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 UConn’s coach – and holds an NCAA tournament record of 12 straight double-digit victories. The son of Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. – for whom Hurley played at the 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 quickly rebuilding academic programs at Wagner and Rhode Island. His older brother, Bobby, is the head coach at Arizona State.

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