Another 2-Time NCAA Champion Coach Linked to Lakers as Dan Hurley Rejects Offer

Dan Hurley, Lakers

Getty Head coach Dan Hurley of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after beating the Purdue Boilermakers 75-60 to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament National Championship game.

As Dan Hurley turned down the Los Angeles Lakers‘ offer, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, another two-time national champion coach could emerge as a “stealth” candidate.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported on June 9, a day before Hurley’s decision was announced, that former Villanova coach Jay Wright could become a potential candidate for the Lakers job.

“I know that there is great interest in the backstory here …. whether Hurley indeed was the Lakers’ dream target all along or if the Lakers increased the intensity of their Hurley courtship more recently because of 11th-hour doubts about Redick or anyone else in the process. (I had been warned early on by one well-placed insider, for what it’s worth, to stay ready in case former Villanova coach Jay Wright emerged as a stealth candidate.) The good news on this front if you’re so inclined: That backstory is sure to surface sooner rather than later … presumably soon after the Lakers do or don’t land Hurley,” Stein wrote in his Substack newsletter on June 9.

Hurley turned down the Lakers’ six-year, $70 million offer that would have made him one of the NBA’s six highest-paid coaches, according to Wojnarowski.

Like Hurley, Wright has won two national championships, in 2016 and 2018, with the nucleus of those teams playing in New York — Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo with the Knicks and Mikal Bridges with the Nets.

James Borrego, JJ Redick Still in Play

With Hurley now out of the picture, previously reported candidates James Borrego and JJ Redick remain in play as the next Lakers coach.

“After a dogged pursuit of Hurley over past weeks, Lakers will regroup and resume bringing in candidates for interviews with the hope of hiring a coach by Draft, sources said. James Borrego is expected to remain part of the group and Lakers could do their first formal interview with JJ Redick,” Wojnarowski tweeted on X.

Before the highly publicized Lakers’ pursuit of Hurley, The Athletic reported that Redick, LeBron James‘ co-host in the “Mind the Game” podcast was the front-runner for the job.

Darvin Ham Finds New Job

Former Lakers head coach Darvin Ham would return to the Milwaukee Bucks as Doc Rivers’ top deputy, Wojnarwoski reported before Hurley spurned the opportunity to replace him in Los Angeles.

Ham previously served as an assistant coach with the Bucks for four seasons, including their 2021 championship run, under Mike Budenholzer before the Lakers hired him in 2022.

But after two seasons, including a Western Conference Finals trip in his first year on the job, the Lakers fired Ham following their first-round exit.

The Phoenix Suns, who named Budenholzer as their new head coach, previously sought Ham before the Bucks, according to Stein.

“League sources say Budenholzer made a run at trying to convince Darvin Ham to join his staff in Phoenix, but Ham — fired as Lakers coach on May 3 — is said to have understandably passed after two exacting seasons in Lakerland. The Suns responded by asking David Fizdale, from Vogel’s staff, to stay on as an assistant coach on Budenholzer’s new staff after initially offering him a front office role,” Stein wrote in his Substack newsletter on June 2.

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