Rumor once again questions the status of Los Angeles Lakers coaching search

Every time the Los Angeles Lakers near a coaching hire, a new rumor casts doubt over how the process is shaping up.
Charlotte Hornets v Brooklyn Nets
Charlotte Hornets v Brooklyn Nets / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

With Dan Hurley returning to the University of Connecticut, the Los Angeles Lakers are right back to where they started. The coaching search still includes top assistant coaches from around the NBA, while analyst and former player JJ Redick remains a step ahead as the clear-cut frontrunner.

Just when it seemed as though the hiring of Redick was soon to be legitimized, however, another rumor has arrived to cast doubt on the inevitable transpiring.

Redick and New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach James Borrego have been steady leaders for the job in Los Angeles. Redick has been the perceived favorite, with Shams Charania of The Athletic reporting just before the Hurley fiasco that the Lakers were, "Zeroing in," on him.

According to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times, however, some within the organization insist that it's still too soon to pencil Borrego or Redick in as head coach.

"Still, people with knowledge inside the building maintain that the Lakers’ search isn’t limited to just Redick and Borrego and, if necessary, more interviews could be forthcoming."

It's yet another twist in what has been a whirlwind process for the 17-time NBA champions.

With the 2024 NBA Finals potentially nearing the end, Redick will meet with governor Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka for a formal interview. Some have hypothesized that it's a formality in the process of hiring the Duke Blue Devils legend as the Lakers' next head coach.

Redick co-hosts the Mind the Game podcast with Los Angeles superstar LeBron James and has reportedly been compared to Pat Riley by members of the Lakers organization.

Riley, of course, led the franchise to four championships as head coach of the Showtime Lakers.

As for Borrego, he's remained in the running due to his previous coaching experience and the rapport that he's built with franchise player Anthony Davis. He also led the Charlotte Hornets to 43 wins and a top-10 ranking in offensive rating in 2022-23 before he was unceremoniously let go.

The Hornets have since failed to win at least 30 games in either of the two seasons played without Borrego at the helm.

For as intriguing as Borrego and Redick are, it's encouraging to hear that the Lakers aren't yet decided on their path to success. Missing out on Hurley stung, and remaining patient in the face of adversity could help the franchise avoid a rash decision.

Either Borrego or Redick could still be hired to fill the vacancy at head coach, but patience on the part of the Lakers is a refreshing change of pace—no matter how confusing the back-and-forth has been.