Five head coaching options for the Lakers

Five head coaching options for the Lakers James Borrego.

Dan Hurley has reportedly turned down a six-year, $70 million offer from the Los Angeles Lakers. Rob Pelinka and the front office must now pivot as they look to fill their open head-coaching role.

Here are five potential candidates to step up as Darvin Ham's successor.

1. JJ Redick

Redick has been at the forefront of the Lakers coaching search and was widely considered the favorite for the job before the Hurley news emerged. The former sharpshooter turned analyst is known to be interested in becoming a head coach at the NBA level and has developed a reputation for being an elite basketball mind. Redick was a finalist in the Charlotte Hornets coaching search.

However, the Lakers may be reluctant to trust their immediate future to someone without any coaching experience. Nevertheless, Redick will likely emerge as a front-runner for the role and would be available to start immediately. His friendship with LeBron James could also be a factor.

2. James Borrego

James Borrego has some experience as an NBA head coach. He oversaw the Orlando Magic for 30 games during the 2014-15 season, winning 10 games. He also led the Charlotte Hornets for four seasons, winning 138 of the 301 games he presided over.

Borrego has a reputation for being a high-level offensive coach. His systems are innovative and he likes his teams to play fast-paced basketball. He has likely improved as a coach in recent years, having been working with the New Orleans Pelicans as an assistant. Borrego would represent less of a risk than Redick, but he may not be prepared for the bright lights of Los Angeles.

3. Sam Cassell

Sam Cassell won three NBA championships as a player and has developed a reputation as one of the best assistant coaches in the league. He would immediately command respect within the Lakers locker room and would have no problem connecting with the players or the coaching staff.

Cassell is currently working on Joe Mazzulla's staff in Boston. As such, he is two wins away from adding another championship to his resume. Cassell's experience as an assistant coach will undoubtedly help in his pursuit of a head-coaching role. Whether the Lakers view him as a logical candidate remains to be seen.

4. Jay Wright

According to Marc Stein, a "well-placed insider has warned" him that former Villanova head coach Jay Wright could be another coach on the Lakers' radar. Wright turned Villanova into a Big East powerhouse. In 21 years leading the program, he compiled 520 wins, a .725 win percentage and claimed two national championships.

However, Wright abruptly retired following Villanova's loss in the 2022 Final Four and has adamantly maintained he is done coaching. It seems unlikely the Lakers would be able to lure him away from his current role as an analyst.

5. Kenny Atkinson

Atkinson made an impression as a talented coach during his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets and has since gained experience working under Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors. If he was given the Lakers job, Atkinson would be reunited with former Nets guard D'Angelo Russell. Due to his reputation as a player development coach, he would also be a strong candidate to build a system around.

However, with the Lakers in win-now mode, Atkinson may be overlooked despite being one of the more qualified candidates for the job.

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