Lakers set to propose significant offer to UConn’s Dan Hurley

Photo of UConns Dan Hurley gear up to sign with the Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers have set their sights on UConn men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley as their next head coach, sweetening the deal with a hefty, long-term contract offer. Preliminary contact has been made with Hurley, and talks are expected to heat up soon. Hurley has been the Lakers’ top pick from the get-go, even as they conducted interviews with other candidates just to keep things interesting.

Lakers VP of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, along with governor Jeanie Buss, can’t wait to pitch Hurley on their grand plan. They want to merge his championship-winning program, famed for its tactical genius and elite player development, with the legendary Lakers brand. Because really, what could go wrong?

Hurley, 51, has long harbored aspirations of coaching in the NBA and has shown keen interest in exploring a collaboration with one of the league’s most historic franchises.

At Thursday’s practice, Hurley told his UConn players that the Lakers had contacted him and he was open to their interest. This move comes 20 years after the Lakers’ failed attempt to hire then-Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski with a record-breaking offer in 2004.

Although Krzyzewski stayed with Duke, the landscape of college athletics has changed significantly, with the relentless demands of NIL fundraising making the NBA more attractive to coaches from non-power football schools like UConn.

LeBron James, impressed by Hurley’s sophisticated offensive strategies, could play a crucial role in this potential hiring. Should James return to the Lakers in free agency, the team might use their 55th pick in the upcoming NBA draft on USC freshman guard Bronny James.

This would allow LeBron to play with his son and leverage Hurley’s player development expertise. Recently, LeBron praised Hurley on social media, saying, “He’s so DAMN GOOD!!! Along with his staff. Super creative with their [offense]. Love it.”

The Lakers are also ensuring that All-NBA forward Anthony Davis is involved in discussions about their next head coach, making sure the new coach’s plans align with Davis’s role on both offense and defense.

Although the Lakers have interviewed several other candidates, including New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego, JJ Redick, Boston Celtics assistant Sam Cassell, and Denver Nuggets assistant David Adelman, Hurley has remained the central focus of their search.

Hurley’s appeal is partly due to the changing landscape of NBA roster construction under the new collective bargaining agreement. The new second apron has made it challenging for big-market teams to trade multiple draft picks and young players for a third star.

However, the Lakers have a promising young core in Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and Max Christie, who management believes could thrive under Hurley’s guidance. Along with the 17th pick in this month’s draft, the Lakers see significant growth potential with Hurley as coach, sources say.

After leading UConn to back-to-back national titles, Hurley has become one of the most coveted coaches in the sport. His potential move from UConn and the Big East Conference to the Lakers would have significant implications for both college basketball and the NBA. Hurley has built a powerhouse at UConn, securing the first repeat NCAA championship in 17 years and setting a record for the largest point differential in tournament history at 140 points.

While UConn has a preseason top-five team and the possibility of winning a third consecutive title, they have lost key players to the NBA draft, including lottery picks center Donovan Clingan and guard Stephon Castle, as well as first-team All-America point guard Tristen Newton.

The Lakers recently dismissed coach Darvin Ham after a first-round exit in the Western Conference playoffs. Ham had a 94-70 record over two seasons and led the team to the Western Conference finals in 2023 but was let go to make room for new leadership.

Hurley has an impressive record of 141-58 (.709) over six seasons at UConn and an NCAA tournament record of 12 consecutive double-digit victories. As the son of Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr., Dan Hurley played for his father at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.

He spent nine years coaching high school basketball at St. Benedict’s Prep before successfully rebuilding college programs at Wagner and Rhode Island. His older brother, Bobby Hurley, is currently the head coach at Arizona State.


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