Rob Pelinka proves Lakers are on the right track with shocking ace up his sleeve

The Los Angeles Lakers are going in an entirely different direction in the head coaching search. It could indicate a long-awaited shift in quality and direction.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament   - National Championship
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - National Championship / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Just when it seemed the question had been answered, the Los Angeles Lakers introduced an entirely new variable to the most high-profile coaching search in the NBA. With the JJ Redick hire rumored to be an inevitability, general manager Rob Pelinka sent everything Lakers fans thought they knew about this process up in flames.

With a new front runner emerging at the 25th hour, the Lakers are suddenly looking the part of a patient and responsible organization.

Redick has been a controversial frontrunner for one of the marquee jobs in professional sports. His connection to LeBron James, unique playing career, and renowned media presence is balanced by an absence of coaching experience that many fear indicates he’s not yet ready for such a high-pressure head coaching position.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers had different plans than what some of the NBA’s leading reporters had stated all along.

Pelinka is in negotiations to hire current UConn Huskies head coach Dan Hurley to become the next sideline leader in Los Angeles.

"“The Los Angeles Lakers are targeting UConn men's basketball coach Dan Hurley as the franchise's next coach and are preparing a massive, long-term contract offer to bring the back-to-back NCAA national champion to the NBA, sources told ESPN. The Lakers have had preliminary contact with Hurley and the sides are planning to escalate discussions in the coming days, sources told ESPN. Hurley has been at the forefront of the Lakers' search from the beginning of the process, even while the organization has done its due diligence interviewing several other candidates, sources said.”"

This is a shocking twist that defies a surplus of reports provided by consistent and respected journalists from a variety of outlets.

Hurley, 51, is a phenomenal option for the Lakers to pursue. He has 26 years of coaching experience and is currently in the midst of a run in which he's won back-to-back National Championships as the head coach at the University of Connecticut.

The Huskies have achieved that legacy-defining success by running a beautiful and complex motion offense while equally emphasizing a physical brand of team defense.

The reigning Naismith Coach of the Year could now bring his winning style of basketball to an NBA era that fits his ideology. If his UConn tenure has proven anything, it’s that Hurley is capable of running a dominant system that enables and requires all five players on the court to shoot, pass, and dribble.

It’s why he’s been able to help everyone from undersized off-guards to traditional big men find their place in a modern offense that should translate well to the next level.

In Los Angeles, weapons already exist that fit how Hurley ran his team at Connecticut. That includes Anthony Davis, whose two-way value will likely be emphasized in a system that helped Huskies center Donovan Clingan emerge as a potential lottery pick.

Hurley will likely tweak his approach based on personnel and opponents. The Lakers, after all, have made it clear that they want a meticulous strategist who holds players accountable. Adaptability is a big part of that.

Regardless, the ace up Pelinka’s sleeve seems to indicate that a new era of Lakers basketball, highlighted by patient approaches to crucial decisions, is finally upon us.