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Sources: Lakers preparing big offer for UConn’s Dan Hurley

The Los Angeles Lakers are targeting UConn’s 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, sources told ESPN.

The Lakers have been in preliminary contact with Hurley and the sides plan to escalate discussions in the coming days, sources told ESPN. Hurley has been at the forefront of the Lakers’ search from the beginning of the process, even as the organization has done its due diligence by interviewing several other candidates, sources said.

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and Governor Jeanie Buss would like to formally speak with Hurley about their vision to combine his dominant program – built on both his tactical acumen and elite player development – ​​with the storied Lakers brand. sources said.

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

Hurley’s pursuit comes on the 20th anniversary of the Lakers trying to hire then-Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to a record-setting contract in 2004. Krzyzewski chose to remain with the Blue Devils, but the climate has changed dramatically in college athletics. the demands of NIL fundraising for non-power football schools like UConn are a particularly brutal grind — and are expected to become even more difficult.

As for the Lakers’ stars, LeBron James has been impressed with Hurley’s refined offensive plays, and assuming he returns to LA in free agency, the possibility of taking the 55th overall pick in this month’s NBA draft out of USC -freshman guard Bronny James to use Hurley as an even more intriguing prospect. If that happens, James will have the opportunity 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 the social media platform awesome.”

The Lakers are committed to making All-NBA forward Anthony Davis a key part of the next head coach conversation and want to ensure he is on par with how a new coach will use him on both offense and defense wants to deploy, sources said.

The Lakers have had 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 continued discussions with other candidates in recent weeks, but the potential to land Hurley has been the focus of the Lakers’ search, sources said.

Part of Hurley’s appeal can be traced to the changing landscape of the NBA roster under the collective bargaining agreement. Due to the roster-building limitations of the new second platform, the ability of big-market teams to build competitive rosters by trading multiple draft picks and young players for a third star player has been largely eliminated. In addition to the 17th overall pick in this month’s draft, the Lakers have a young core of Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and Max Christie, who management believes can show even greater improvement under Hurley’s coaching, according to sources.

After historically dominant back-to-back national title seasons, Hurley has emerged as 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 college basketball and the NBA. . Hurley has constructed a juggernaut that has overtaken the sport — highlighted by the NCAA’s first repeat 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-5 team, but the Huskies did lose two lottery picks (center Donovan Clingan and guard Stephon Castle) and an All-American point guard of the first team ( Tristen Newton) in the NBA draft.

The Lakers fired coach Darvin Ham after a first-round exit 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 coach – and has an NCAA tournament record of 12 consecutive double-digit wins. The son of Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. – for whom Hurley played at the famed St. Anthony High School of Jersey City, NJ – Dan Hurley spent nine years as a high school coach at St. Benedict’s Prep before quickly rebuilding college programs in Wagner and Rhode Island. His older brother, Bobby, is the head coach at Arizona State.

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