Suns Rivals Swing, Miss on Top Coaching Candidate

The Los Angeles Lakers could be left scrambling for a coach.
Apr 13, 2024; Hartford, CT, USA; UConn Huskies head coach Dan Hurley and his players leave the State Capitol to start the teams NCAA Mens Basketball Championship victory parade. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 13, 2024; Hartford, CT, USA; UConn Huskies head coach Dan Hurley and his players leave the State Capitol to start the teams NCAA Mens Basketball Championship victory parade. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns could be in strong position to have a brighter future than the Los Angeles Lakers moving forward, especially with a recent development.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Monday that UConn head men's basketball coach Dan Hurley had indeed turned down an offer from the Lakers for their vacant head coaching job.

Hurley was very impressed with the Lakers' presentation, particularly the tandem of governor Jeanie Buss and president Rob Pelinka, but the desire to pursue a three-peat at the college level ultimately won out.

Woj reports that the Lakers are now expected to go back to the drawing board, with former Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego expected to remain part of the search, along with a potential formal interview for current ESPN NBA analyst JJ Redick in the cards in the coming weeks.

The ultimate swing-and-miss on Hurley could have massive implications, as the remaining candidate pool across the league is seen as sub-par currently.

Lakers' star F/C Anthony Davis has reportedly preferred Borrego in the process, and star F LeBron James has remained a neutral observant.

Does this prolonged search mean the Lakers are looking to retool or reset completely with a coach that is more renowned for player development than for acumen in playoff situations?

It certainly is possible, and the report of silence from the James camp could signify that there is a serious possibility that a departure from Los Angeles is imminent.

Borrego, Redick, and even a sleeper candidate such as Kenny Atkinson would feel like a move to push towards the future rather than making a legitimate push in the present, at least optically, but no firm conclusions should be made until free agency opens.

The Lakers are expected to make an official decision by the draft - which is coming up in just about two weeks, so there should be much more clarity in this murky situation soon - and the Suns could ultimately be set up to contend in a division that features four California teams that face murky futures.


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Kevin Hicks

KEVIN HICKS