Lakers rumors: JJ Redick ‘slight favorite’ in coaching search with Mike

As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to look for their seventh head coach since Phil Jackson’s 2011 retirement, one name has stood out in the reporting surrounding the search: JJ Redick. The former player-turned-broadcaster has been frequently cited as one of the team’s top targets, and The Athletic’s Jovan Buha called Redick the “slight favorite” for the position on his YouTube channel. While the search is still in its infancy, one newer development certainly works in Redick’s favor.

According to Buha and Shams Charania, former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has emerged as an unofficial consultant to the Lakers during this search. Krzyzewski famously coached Redick at Duke during his decorated four-year collegiate career, and 20 years ago, the college legend also found himself at the center of a Lakers coaching search. When the Lakers fired Jackson following the 2004 Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons, Krzyzewski was their top target to coach Kobe Bryant. He ultimately declined the position, but now, his former pupil appears to be in the thick of the 2024 search.

That doesn’t mean the job is his, though. According to Buha and Charania’s reporting, the three initial targets for the job are Redick, former Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego and current Boston Celtics assistant and former NBA All-Star Sam Cassell. Several other candidates have been cited, though, and the Lakers are expected to be deliberate in their process. Buha noted on YouTube that “they want a coach that can be their version of an Erik Spoelstra, their version of a Steve Kerr,” meaning a coach who can lead them for the long-term and build a sustainable culture.

That perspective makes Redick a more viable candidate than the terms under which previous searches have been held. When the Lakers hired Frank Vogel, for instance, negotiations fell apart with Ty Lue in part due to their unwillingness to give him a contract longer than three years. The implication was that the Lakers viewed Lue as a coach for LeBron James more than a long-term franchise fixture. With James nearing the end of his career, the Lakers obviously would like to maximize his championship window, but are ultimately acknowledging that the next era of Lakers basketball will need a leader that can outlast him.

Still, Redick’s relationship with James would surely be a positive as he transitions from a media career into coaching. Multiple reports indicated that Darvin Ham struggled to get the locker room to buy in last season. If James backs Redick, his teammates will likely follow. The two of them host the Mind the Game podcast together.

No matter who the Lakers consult or what they are looking for, though, Redick has a ways to go. It is rare for any coach to get a top job with no professional or collegiate experience, and Redick will have to convince the Lakers that he can learn quickly if he is going to get this job.

Leave a Comment