Sources: Lakers were impressed by JJ Redick’s vision for Anthony Davis

Anthony Irwin
7 Min Read
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

According to sources close to the situation speaking on the condition of anonymity, the Los Angeles Lakers and JJ Redick have come to an agreement on a four-year contract. This follows a lengthy, wandering search that involved several other candidates for the position most recently held by Darvin Ham.

Redick met with the Lakers Saturday to confirm final details and has been operating as head coach since the Finals ended, per sources close to the situation.

Sources say the Lakers, who reportedly thought Redick had Pat Riley potential even before interviewing him, were impressed in the interview process by his organization, communication skills and technical vision for the team — especially regarding Anthony Davis. Redick and the Lakers were in conversation on several occasions over the last month, finally leading to this agreement.

At various points in the process, Kenny Atkinson, Sam Cassell, James Borrego, David Adelman, Micah Nori, and most notably, Dan Hurley were interviewed. The extent to which each candidate was seriously considered obviously varies, but the Lakers would definitely prefer you at least kind of believe they thought this through.

Hurley was even made an offer of $70M over six years, but he declined, opting instead to remain at UConn. Once he made that decision, the Lakers, who had somewhat cooled on Redick because of the necessity to wait until after the NBA Finals, circled back. Redick also needed some convincing over the weekend, sources say, having seen how the Lakers operate. Both sides were able to put their various concerns to rest, though, and are moving forward.

Sources around the league had been curious about the Lakers’ process before the Hurley detour.

“It seemed like they landed on JJ pretty quickly and he was just always going to be the guy,” a Western Conference executive told me. “They hadn’t even interviewed him or anyone and he was considered the far-and-away favorite. How does that happen?”

Redick has certainly been a consistent presence at or near the top of the Lakers’ wish list. More than a month ago, sources close to the Lakers indicated they had zeroed in on Redick. If not for that brief but aggressive pursuit of Hurley, Redick would have remained their prime target for more than a month in total.

In Ham’s case, sources had told me upwards of a week before the final decision was made he was getting let go. Both Ham’s firing and Redick’s hiring had a well-known endpoint and, to many around the league, any deliberation felt more performative than productive.

One potential explanation for the delay was the standoff between the Los Angeles Clippers and Tyronn Lue, but the Lakers long thought he wouldn’t be available even if he hadn’t gotten the extension he wanted, sources say. Lue wound up re-signing with the Clippers, and those close to the situation say the Lakers had hoped he might’ve been available, but never felt it was all that realistic.

Making this whole ordeal all the weirder have been the multiple reports that LeBron James wanted nothing to do with this process. James has made it perfectly clear that, while he may have his preferences (and sources say Redick was his with Lue never being realistic), this was a Pelinka decision.

Nothing speaks to a unified front quite like key figures in the organization distancing themselves from a major decision as it’s happening.

Redick, a first-time NBA coach in any regard, is walking into a brutally tough situation. The Lakers are still very much a title-or-bust organization, but those are nearly impossible expectations with James entering his age-40 season and Davis heading into his 13th year in the league. Ideally, such an inexperienced head coach would have time to learn the job on the fly. As James could only have a couple years left in his career (let alone playing at an elite level), Redick won’t have that luxury.

In all likelihood, Redick will have to vie for a championship these next couple seasons, then immediately handle the post-James era as the Lakers would then be attempting to rebuild around Davis, who will be in his mid-30s. Few coaches would be able to thrive in one of those situations. The Lakers are hoping Redick will be able to handle both.

Redick and the Lakers have already been already working to compile his coaching staff, sources say, with Borrego, Cassell, Jared Dudley and Scott Brooks seen as primary targets. League sources say Borrego is likely going to be named the next coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cassell is also likely to get a promotion with the Boston Celtics after Charles Lee took the Charlotte Hornets job. Hiring Dudley may also be difficult, as he is seen as a valued member of the Dallas Mavericks coaching staff. Another name to keep an eye on is Miles Simon, who had previously worked with the Lakers on Luke Walton’s and Frank Vogel’s staffs, earning a championship ring for his role with the 2019-20 team.

If this has any chance whatsoever at working, the Lakers will need to at least internally have a better understanding of what constitutes success than they seemed to with Walton, Vogel, and eventually, Ham. “Championship or bust” sounds great as a mantra but it’s incredibly impractical and has played a role in the Lakers being on their seventh official (not counting interim) head coach in the 13 years since Phil Jackson retired.

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Anthony has spent the last decade-plus covering the Lakers either in written, audio or video form. He has written previously on the TrueHoop Network, Fansided and SB Nation. He founded Locked on Lakers, currently hosts Lakers Lounge and produces other podcasts for Audacy and 247Sports. His latest venture has been news breaking, which he looks forward to doing for Lakers Daily.