Conflicting reports cast doubt over status of Lakers head coaching search

Are the Los Angeles Lakers set on hiring JJ Redick? Are the other candidates actually being considered for the job? Recent reports have created even more confusion.
Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets
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The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of one of the most interesting searches for a head coach in recent memory. The cast of candidates includes some of the most respected assistant coaches in the NBA and a heralded former player who has yet to coach at the professional or collegiate levels.

While one recent report suggests that the search for a head coach has an inevitable outcome, another implies that the process is nowhere near its completion.

Former player and current analyst JJ Redick is the headlining name in a group of coaching candidates that offers reason for intrigue. Other names include longtime NBA assistant coaches David Adelman, James Borrego, Sam Cassell, Micah Nori, and Chris Quinn.

In an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Senior NBA Insider Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report stated his educated belief that Redick will be hired as the next head coach of the Lakers.

For those who can't access the video, Haynes told Patrick the following:

"I would be very surprised if their next head coach is anybody but JJ Redick. Everything that I'm hearing is JJ Redick. From what I know, he's doing some background, calling some assistant coaching candidates who might be able to join his staff or might not be able to join his staff. I'm pretty positive it'll be JJ."

This is in line with a recent report that the Redick and the Lakers already have a coaching staff in mind in the event that the former Duke Blue Devils star is hired.

JJ Redick may be the favorite, but the hiring process has only just begun

While this would come as a surprise to few, perhaps the door shouldn't be shut on the Lakers' hiring process just yet. It's still possible that Redick will get the job, but general manager Rob Pelinka is reportedly nowhere near a decision.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers have only just begun the more in-depth stage of the interviewing process with potential candidates.

For those who can't watch the video at this time, Wojnarowski told the team at ESPN's NBA Today:

"The Lakers now are starting to bring in candidates for longer, in-depth interviews...Over the next few weeks, you're going to see more candidates come back in and dig a little deeper with the Lakers on this head coaching job. They're nowhere close on this one."

This doesn't necessarily disprove Haynes' report of what he's heard from around the NBA, but it certainly casts doubt on it being a foregone conclusion.

Lakers have a long list of compelling candidates

Redick may be the frontrunner, but the Lakers are reportedly avoiding the temptation to name him head coach before turning over every stone. Per Wojnarowski, another candidate gaining traction in Los Angeles is New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego.

Borrego has a positive relationship with Lakers franchise player Anthony Davis and has previous experience as a head coach with the Charlotte Hornets.

As for the other rumored candidates, Cassell and Quinn share Redick's arguable advantage of having played in the NBA. Quinn has since gone on to spend 10 seasons as an assistant to Erik Spoelstra with the Miami Heat, during which time the franchise has made two trips to the NBA Finals.

Cassell, meanwhile, won three championships and earned All-NBA honors during his playing career. He's gone on to spend 15 years as an assistant coach to the likes of Doc Rivers, Flip Saunders, and Joe Mazzulla.

Adelman and Nori may not have played in the NBA, but they're as viable of candidates as anyone. Adelman has spent 13 seasons as a player development specialist and assistant coach, including the past seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets—the 2022-23 championship campaign included.

Nori, meanwhile, has been an assistant coach since 2009, playing a pivotal role over the past three seasons as the lead assistant coach to Chris Finch with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Regardless of who's hired, it seems that the Lakers are looking to avoid a past tendency of shortsightedness in the pursuit of glory. That theory is supported by a recent report that the Lakers are prioritizing Davis rather than LeBron James, who's soon to turn 40, in the hiring of a new head coach.

Regardless of what ultimately proves to be true, two of the most respected NBA insiders in the industry have cast doubt over just how close the Lakers actually are to a decision.