Lakers' Quest to Find a New Coach Is Becoming Quite a Thrill Ride

The NBA's top two insiders appear to have significantly different reads.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to eventually pick a head coach to lead them into next season and when that happens, it won't really matter who breaks the news three minutes before the rest of the world has it. But being cynical isn't as fun as keeping score in the Adrian Wojnarowski-Shams Charania parlor game, which has an interesting new chapter based on some at-odds reporting on L.A.'s search.

Less than 48 hours ago, The Athletic's Charania shoveled some more fuel into the JJ Redick hot-stove by establishing the player-turned-podcaster-slash-broadcaster as the leader in the clubhouse.

The Los Angeles Lakers are zeroing in on JJ Redick as the front-runner to be the franchise’s next head coach, league and media industry sources told The Athletic.

No final decision has been made yet, and the Lakers still have steps remaining in their head-coaching search process, league sources said. But the indications are strong that Redick is their leading choice at this stage.

Redick, promoting the NBA Finals on ESPN/ABC and in the middle of a Golic sandwich, quickly added some intrigue by saying that Shams would "be addressed once the season is over."

Then, as most people were still sleeping on Thursday, ESPN's Wojnarowski reached back with an old-timey windup and fired off the bombshell news that the Lakers are targeting UConn's Dan Hurley and putting together a massive offer.

The Lakers have had preliminary contact with Hurley and the sides are planning 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 while the organization has done its due diligence interviewing several other candidates, sources said.

So one can see the problem. Redick and Hurley can't both coach the Lakers unless one of them wants to leave a great gig to become an assistant.

At times like these it's important to parse the language and point out that we're all in this situation because step-by-step reporting of each and every twist and turn of the process has been turned into an opportunity for news. In the not-so-distant past a consumer would only hear about a team selecting a new coach when that coach had been selected. It was less entertaining but that world didn't require a dictionary and thesaurus to divine meaning from the verbs included in every stage.

And that's not a slight. Woj and Shams are at the top of the field. But there's a real chance neither Redick nor Hurley coaches the Lakers next year, despite all the "zeroing in" and "targeting." In the court of public opinion, fair or otherwise, Shams is the Redick guy now and Woj is the Hurley guy. No one is going to do the work of parsing all the semantics and journalism to give either an out if life happens and talks don't go well or offers aren't accepted or matched.

Until there's a final decision the winner in these types of situations tends to be the person with the most recent information, which would be Wojanarowski. There's certainly something to be said about waking up in the morning to a legitimately shocking chyron on the screen and considering an event horizon that would profoundly impact both pro and college basketball.

It's nice to be reminded every so often that the Woj-Shams sideshow can be a lot of fun once a person gets out of the weeds and learns to embrace the bombs.

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Kyle K