Mike Krzyzewski helping to decide the future of the LeBron James era Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka seems to be tightening his inner circle. Mike Krzyzewski has seemingly gained traction within it.
Arizona v Duke
Arizona v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly trimmed the list of potential head coaching candidates down to three. Dan Hurley currently sits in the pole position, with JJ Redick and James Borrego continuing to surface as viable options in the event that the negotations with the UConn coach fall through.

Regardless of who ultimately becomes the next head coach of the Lakers, it's become abundantly clear that Mike Krzyzewski's voice will be heard.

Krzyzewski, widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history, is perhaps a name NBA fans didn't expect to see surface in 2024. As the Lakers search for answers in terms of who can lead them into the future, however, the Duke Blue Devils legend is playing a pivotal role.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Krzyzewski has been a trusted advisor to general manager Rob Pelinka during the coaching process—and has been a guiding force behind L.A.'s pursuit of Hurley.

"Though Krzyzewski also has ties to Redick, who played under him at Duke from 2002 to 2006, his relationship with Hurley and the belief he has shown in him has been one of the many factors in the process that has led the Lakers to aggressively pursue him, according to team and league sources."

Buha also made note of Hurley's comments from earlier this year, when he stated that Coach K helped convince him to take the job at UConn back in 2018.

Fast forward to 2024 and it appears Krzyzewski may be helping Hurley make another career-altering decision. The UConn call was clearly the right one, as Hurley has led the program to back-to-back national championships.

There are few jobs in sports that compare to the pressure of being the head coach of the Lakers, but Coach K seems to believe Hurley is uniquely qualified.

It's easy to see why. Hurley has thrived at every stop of his coaching career. He helped turn St. Benedict's Prep into a national powerhouse on the high school level, led Wagner and Rhode Island to new heights, and now has the Huskies at the top of the men's college basketball landscape.

The son of legendary high school basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr., pressure is hardly something that the Lakers' leading candidate is unfamiliar with.

With Coach K entering what appears to be a shrinking circle of trust for Pelinka, the Lakers are now entrusting what could be the final years of the LeBron James era to someone who coached him with Team USA. It's a calculated risk that shows Pelinka's hope to get fresh, yet familiar eyes on the building process.

If Hurley to the Lakers pays off as well as Coach K's previous piece of advice, then an 18th championship may be closer than it seems.