Los Angeles Lakers pursuit of JJ Redick finally shifting into second gear

The Los Angeles Lakers have spent the better part of the NBA Playoffs searching for a new head coach. After weeks of drama, the JJ Redick saga truly begins.
New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers
New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Since the firing of Darvin Ham, the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to a full carousel of coaching candidates. The likes of Dan Hurley and James Borrego have stolen headlines, while David Adelman, Sam Cassell, Micah Nori, Chris Quinn, and Sean Sweeney have quietly garnered interest.

The persistent name at the heart of potential hiring rumors, however, has been 15-year NBA veteran turned analyst and LeBron James podcast co-host JJ Redick.

Redick, widely regarded as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time, has public connections with the Lakers franchise. Despite the general perception that Redick is the favorite for the job, however, Hurley recently received a six-year, $70 million offer from Los Angeles.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers have responded to Hurley declining their offer by finally formalizing the process of evaluating Redick as a potential candidate.

"JJ Redick will formally interview for the Los Angeles Lakers coaching job this weekend, and a strong performance is expected to move him to the forefront of the franchise's search, sources told ESPN. Redick...had a 90 minute-plus visit with Lakers vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka last month at the Chicago draft combine, and now a trip to Los Angeles will go far deeper into detail on the job and include Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss in the meetings, sources said."

Wojnarowski continued:

"Pelinka and Redick have talked on the phone in recent days, and Redick understands and accepts Pelinka's lengthy pursuit of Connecticut coach Dan Hurley that initially stalled Redick's own candidacy, sources said."

Hurley was a tremendous option to pursue, but the latest Redick report brings fans back to where they expected to be in the Lakers' search for a new head coach.

Redick, 39, has a unique perspective on success in basketball. He was the proverbial late-bloomer, posting his career-high in scoring in his 13th season while helping the Philadelphia 76ers win 51 games and fall within a Kawhi Leonard miracle shot of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

Prior to his NBA career, Redick was the National College Player of the Year and perhaps the most hated athlete in the United States of America as the featured star for the Duke Blue Devils.

It's easy to connect the dots between that experience and Redick forging a bond with a similarly hated athlete in James and a Lakers organization that carries distinctive pressure.

The red flag with Redick is that he has yet to coach at the professional or collegiate levels. That glaring lack of experience has some questioning if he can handle the already unenviable task of attempting to win in a closing window while simultaneously developing young talent for the future.

The Lakers have hired experienced NBA coaches in the past and are now broadening their horizons as they attempt to navigate that rocky terrain.

In a recent episode of Mind The Game, James and Redick perhaps inadvertently shed light on what the Lakers might look like under the potential new head coach. They spoke at length about the importance of depth and role players, which is in stark contrast to the traditional Lakers approach.

Only time will tell how that materializes in the form of roster decisions and rotation alterations, but the long and public courting of Redick is officially taking hold in Los Angeles.

All signs point to the perceived frontrunner becoming the head coach of the Lakers, after all.