Dan Hurley spurns Lakers, leaving an obvious frontrunner and a process in doubt

Dan Hurley has declined the offer to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Once more, the questions outweigh the answers in Lakers land.
Purdue v Connecticut
Purdue v Connecticut / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers made a high-profile target out of Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley. With a massive multi-year contract that aspired to bring the two-time defending NCAA Tournament champion to Los Angeles, Rob Pelinka brought out the heavy artillery.

Unfortunately, the chase for one of the top player development coaches on the market ultimately fell flat, thus casting a shadow of doubt over the Lakers organization.

The Lakers were meticulous in their approach to the Hurley sweepstakes, waiting until the 25th hour to reveal him as a candidate. Everything moved quickly from there, with Hurley flying out to Los Angeles to meet with Pelinka and governor Jeanie Buss this past weekend.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, not even a six-year, $70 million contract offer could convince Hurley to leave UConn.

If there's any consolation whatsoever, it's the fact that the Lakers couldn't have offered Hurley too much better of a deal than that. Had he accepted, he would've been the fifth-highest-paid coach in the NBA.

Hurley, of course, has yet to coach in the Association.

Hurley will prioritize the pursuit of a three-peat at UConn, with the first two championships already secured. If he succeeds, it would be the first time that a men's team has won three consecutive National Championships since John Wooden led the UCLA Bruins to seven straight titles between 1967 and 1973.

With Alex Karaban returning to Storrs and five-star recruit Liam McNeeley soon to join him, the Huskies will look to overcome the loss of three starters to the 2024 NBA Draft.

As for the Lakers, one can't help but feel as though this revelation will bring the franchise right back to JJ Redick. Redick was widely reported as the frontrunner for the position until the Hurley news broke, with multiple outlets confirming Los Angeles' interest.

Redick has thus far remained silent in terms of his intentions, and with his job as a commentator for the 2024 NBA Finals still in play, he'll likely remain that way until the series concludes.

Regardless of what pans out this summer, the Hurley news is an undeniable blow to the Lakers. It seemed like a perfect fit for an organization that has the intention of finding a no-nonsense coach who advocates for accountability and takes a meticulous approach to gameplanning.

There are still options to explore this offseason, but as the Lakers move on in their coaching search, a public failure to bring Hurley to Los Angeles has only increased the pressure to get it right.