LA Lakers set to meet with head coaching candidate Danny Hurley

Lakers brass set to meet with priority head-coaching candidate
from Hoops Rumors with Luke Adams, and from YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
UConn coach Dan Hurley is traveling to California to meet with Lakers leadership, including team owner Jeanie Buss and head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, on Friday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Wojnarowski reports that the team is “eager to close” on a deal that would make Hurley its next head coach.

After initially reporting early on Thursday morning that the Lakers have prioritized Hurley in their head coaching search, Wojnarowski says the team’s pursuit of the two-time national champion has “accelerated.” Sources tell ESPN that the two sides have already talked about what a potential deal would look like — Woj notes that it would be “significant” in terms of both years and salary.

Hurley let UConn administrators know on Wednesday and told his players on Thursday that he was exploring his options with the Lakers. While he hasn’t made any decisions yet, there’s “momentum” in his talks with the Lakers, sources tell Wojnarowski.

Woj stated during a TV appearance on Thursday (Twitter video link) that he expects a resolution on the Hurley front within the next few days – perhaps by the end of the weekend or early next week – since the coach won’t want to leave the Huskies hanging for too long.

We have more on Hurley and Lakers after passing along several Hurley-related notes this afternoon:

The Lakers’ interest in Hurley wasn’t just kept secret from the public until Thursday morning — many people within the organization weren’t even aware of that interest, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Hurley’s name began coming up in internal conversations about head coaching candidates last week, but he seemed like a long shot at that time, Buha adds.

Buha describes Hurley as a legitimate candidate for the Lakers’ job and perhaps the favorite over J.J. Redick, who was considered the frontrunner as recently as Wednesday. However, sources tell The Athletic that the search is “far from settled” and that Redick is still a very viable candidate.

Longtime Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has advised the Lakers during their coaching search, and his connection to Redick (a former Blue Devil) was believed to be a major consideration for Los Angeles.

However, as Buha observes, Krzyzewski also coached Hurley’s brother Bobby and has a strong relationship with the UConn head coach. Krzyzewski’s belief in Hurley is one of the factors that has convinced the Lakers to aggressively pursue him, Buha writes.

Wojnarowski said during a TV appearance on Thursday that he believes the Lakers would be “far more likely” to draft LeBron James‘ son Bronny James if they end up hiring Hurley. “When you talk about LeBron James and the impact this has for him, I think this is the first significant action the Lakers have taken to show you they are actually very serious about drafting Bronny James at 55,” Wojnarowski said (YouTube link). “Because they do see Dan Hurley as the perfect coach to guide his development.”

Veteran columnist Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times, who previously argued against the idea of the Lakers hiring Redick as their head coach, strongly endorsed Hurley for the job, referring to it as a “no-brainer.”

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