Lakers Hire First-Time Coach

Choosing JJ Redick could encourage LeBron James to stay with team
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2024 3:55 PM CDT
Lakers Hire JJ Redick for His First Coaching Job
Former Orlando Magic guard JJ Redick, center, leaves the court after being honored by the team during the first half of an NBA game against the New York Knicks on Feb. 14.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

JJ Redick is being hired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, a person with knowledge of the decision tells the AP. It will be the first coaching job—other than children's youth teams—for the former guard. The 39-year-old Redick is an extraordinary choice by the Lakers, who are putting a novice in charge of a franchise with 17 NBA titles, one of the biggest brand names in world sports—and LeBron James, the top scorer in league history. Redick replaces Darvin Ham, who was fired May 3 despite leading the Lakers to two playoff berths and a Western Conference finals appearance in 2023.

Redick was a proficient outside shooter for six teams before his retirement in September 2021, when he moved into broadcasting and podcasting. He joined ESPN's lead commentary team earlier this year. Before Redick finished broadcasting the NBA Finals, he met with the Lakers last weekend and apparently did well enough to end the franchise's lengthy coaching search. Less than two weeks after UConn coach Danny Hurley turned down the Lakers' ardent advances, Redick has accepted the job in a remarkable three-year journey from the court to the Lakers' bench.

Redick began recording a regular podcast with James two months ago, and their "Mind the Game" collaboration is already wildly popular, with listeners often emerging impressed by the duo's basketball acumen and high-level discussion of tactics and motivation. Now these two minds will be working together for the Lakers, with Redick leading a roster headlined by James, who is six months younger than Redick. Everything is contingent on James deciding to return to the Lakers, of course. James, who will enter his 22nd NBA season this fall, could decline his $51.4 million contract option this month to become a free agent. But hiring Redick seems to be another calculated move by the Lakers to maximize their chances of keeping the 20-time All-Star and the driving force behind their 2020 championship team.

(More J.J. Redick stories.)

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