JJ Redick rumors address notion that he's a lock to become Lakers head coach

JJ Redick is expected to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, but how likely is it really? Recent rumors have addressed that theory.
2024 NBA Finals - Game Two
2024 NBA Finals - Game Two / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

As critics attack Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka without remorse, the coaching search rages on. The front office still needs to find a head coach who can lead the team into the future, and spending time lamenting what could've been with Dan Hurley will get them no closer to it.

One of the most common beliefs appears to be that Hurley turning the Lakers down will ultimately lead to the hiring of the most heavily publicized candidate for the job: JJ Redick.

Shams Charania of The Athletic previously reported that the Lakers were, "Zeroing in," on Redick to fill the vacancy at head coach. Shortly thereafter, Hurley emerged as the heavy favorite, met with Pelinka and Jeanie Buss in person, and shockingly declined a contract that would've made him the fifth-highest-paid coach in the NBA.

With Hurley out of the picture, it's understandable that many are now looking to Redick as a figure who could return to the status of being a heavy favorite for the job.

Despite this logical leap, it appears as though Redick is not quite the lock that one might surmise. This isn't to say that he won't ultimately be hired, but as he continues to cover the NBA Finals for ABC and ESPN, the Lakers appear to be keeping their distance.

According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Los Angeles hasn't been speaking with Redick as actively as some reports previously indicated.

""...his contact with the team had been minimal, sources said, leading up to the Lakers' aggressive pursuit of Hurley.""

Jovan Buha of The Athletic addressed the rumors with similar information, albeit while acknowledging how different camps have different stories.

""In having conversations with people in and outside of the organization today, it has been a mixed bag in terms of what is the Plan B. I've heard things ranging from: JJ's still the frontrunner, JJ's still the favorite to JJ's in the mix, but there might be a little bit of a reset there in terms of the Lakers really reevaluating all the candidates again and sort of refreshing the candidate pool in terms of looking at everybody through a new lens. I've heard JJ is out and that JJ is not under consideration anymore, and I've heard that the Lakers are going to scrap the entire pool and start over. It's basically been every possible scenario.""

It's vital to reiterate that this doesn't necessarily mean that Redick won't get the job, but it appears as though the uncertainty surrounding the Lakers will persist.

This is on-brand for Los Angeles this offseason, as the very inclusion of Hurley in the coaching search surfaced at the 25th hour. Despite reports from widely respected journalists stating that Redick is the clear frontrunner, a completely different lead candidate was offered the job.

It was later revealed that Pelinka has been decreasing the reach of his inner circle as he makes a decision that could ultimately define his legacy as general manager.

Buha's report epitomized the current status of Pelinka and the Lakers, as no one seems to have a definitive answer as to what's next. The positive spin would be that Los Angeles is learning from past mistakes and is trying to avoid rushing into a landscape-altering decision.

It'd be the wisest approach for the Lakers to embrace, as they can't afford to hire the wrong candidate with Anthony Davis and LeBron James both in their 30s.

Redick and James' relationship has been a talking point throughout the hiring process, as the Mind The Game co-hosts have offered the general public a look at how they might interact as player and coach. A steady theme in reports, however, has been the prioritization of Davis over James.

There are more questions than answers at this stage, and the pain of being spurned by Hurley is likely to last at least one more news cycle. If these reports prove anything, however, it's that the Lakers haven't definitively decided what to do next.

For as frustrating as that might be with the 2024 NBA Draft just two weeks away, it would be the most responsible approach for the Lakers to take.