Lakers News: Unpacking Dan Hurley's Decision to Turn Down LA Opportunity

Why the two-time NCAA champ is sticking with the Huskies.
Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley yells down court during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship against the Purdue Boilermakers, Monday, April 8, 2024, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley yells down court during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship against the Purdue Boilermakers, Monday, April 8, 2024, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

With the 2024 NBA Draft and free agency both less than a month away, it would sure behoove the Los Angeles Lakers to bring in their next head coach already. The team has cycled through the position with alarming frequency, having been unable to hold onto anybody for more than three seasons since 2011, when Phil Jackson stepped away for good.

During a recent appearance on the ESPN morning show "Get Up," Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explained why L.A.'s reported top target, University of Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley, opted to reject an apparent six-year, $70 million deal with the Lakers to stay instead with UConn and push for a three-peat on a fresh six-year, $50 million contract extension.

Part of Hurley's motivation was the notion of being the first men’s college coach since John Wooden to win three straight titles, per Woj. But there was also far more to the decision than that.

“Dan Hurley really studied everything that was required to be an NBA coach and the adjustments he was going to have to make,” Woj said (transcription from RealGM). “As much as the Lakers wanted what Dan Hurley brought — his program building, his player development, the way he can forge relationships with players, the great X’s-and-O’s acumen. He’s running a lot of stuff in college that’s been intriguing to NBA coaches that they want to steal from a little bit. For all of that, Dan Hurley was going to have to adjust and knew that he had to be ready to make the adjustments in temperament, in practice time, all the things that come with being an NBA coach from college basketball. And, ultimately, Dan Hurley wasn’t there yet on doing that.”

It's also worth noting that Los Angeles is fielding a roster comprising two 30-plus-year-old All-Stars in Anthony Davis (31) and LeBron James (39, the league's oldest player), and has limited ways to actively improve its on-court product barring a trade of one of the team's three top players — Davis, James and shooting guard Austin Reaves.

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Alex Kirschenbaum

ALEX KIRSCHENBAUM

Basketball is Alex's favorite sport, he likes the way they dribble up and down the court.