Dan Hurley never actually spoke with LeBron, says it would’ve been ‘thrill’ to coach him

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

University of Connecticut men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley revealed his thoughts on the opportunity to coach LeBron James after he turned down the Los Angeles Lakers’ offer to become their next head coach.

Hurley also revealed that he and James did not speak during his process of considering the Lakers’ head coaching job.

“I did not,” Hurley said when asked if he talked to James during the process of being courted by the Lakers. “We had some communication. One of my first games I ever coached in as a high school coach was against LeBron in Delaware when he was at St. Mary-St. Vincent. His team came into that game with a 66-game winning streak. And we were – it was my first year as a head coach. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. When the game ended, he had a 67-game winning streak. And so, I shared the court with him once. And it was, it would’ve been a thrill to coach him.”

Hurley, who has won back-to-back national titles while coaching at UConn, decided to remain with the program earlier this week rather than accept a six-year, $70 million offer to coach Los Angeles.

It’s interesting that Hurley never had the opportunity to speak to James during the process, especially since the four-time champion could opt out of his contract to become a free agent this offseason.

It would make sense for the Lakers – if they intend to keep James on the roster – to hire a coach that the NBA’s all-time leading scorer would like to play for since he’s nearing the end of his storied career.

James has spoken highly of Hurley on social media, showing a ton of love for his creative offense.

Ultimately, Hurley decided he’d rather chase a third straight national championship at UConn, the school that he’s been with since the 2018-19 season. Hurley has led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament in four straight seasons, and he’s tallied six NCAA Tournament appearances in his career (two came when he was the head coach at the University of Rhode Island).

The Lakers will now move on with their coaching search, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting on Thursday that broadcaster and former NBA sharpshooter J.J. Redick could move to the forefront of the search.

Hopefully, the Lakers can land a head coach that can get them back to the NBA Finals, especially if they keep the core of Anthony Davis and James together.

Los Angeles fired head coach Darvin Ham after it was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the Denver Nuggets this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.