Lakers hire JJ Redick as head coach: 15-year NBA veteran, TV analyst takes over Los Angeles franchise (2024)

The Los Angeles Lakers are hiring JJ Redick as their next head coach, sources confirm to CBS Sports' Bill Reiter. Redick, a 15-year NBA veteran who played for the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks, was most recently in a TV analyst role with ESPN. He has never coached at the professional nor amateur level.

While successful on the court, Redick's rise to prominence has largely come through the media as he hosted a podcast during his playing career. Since retiring, he has worked as a critically acclaimed broadcaster for ESPN. Now, Redick takes one of the highest-profile gigs in the coaching profession for his first job.

Redick's hiring comes at the end of a tumultuous search for the Lakers. While he was one of the first names linked to Los Angeles as a candidate, the search took more than a month in total and included a lengthy courtship of UConn coach Dan Hurley. A six-year, $70 million offer wasn't enough to sway Hurley to the pros, so the Lakers instead turned back to a candidate who was in the mix from the start.

While it is rare for NBA teams to hire head coaches without prior coaching experience, it is not unprecedented. Most recently, the Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash in 2020. He had not previously worked on a full-time coaching staff, though he had done developmental work for the Golden State Warriors. The New York Knicks hired Derek Fisher immediately following his retirement as a player in 2014, and the Nets did the same for Jason Kidd in 2013.

The most successful hire of this style has been Steve Kerr, who took over the Golden State Warriors job in 2014 and has since led teh franchise to four championships. Kerr, however, had worked in the front office for the Phoenix Suns before entering the coaching world.

Though he lacks experience, Redick has been on the candidate list of NBA teams since at least last summer. He interviewed with the Toronto Raptorsfollowing the 2023 season and was a finalist for the Charlotte Hornets job this offseason before it went to Boston Celtics assistant Charles Lee. Current Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla attempted to lure Redick to his coaching staff as an assistant over a round of golf last offseason, but he was rebuffed.

In Los Angeles, Redick figures to have at least one valuable ally in his new team's best player. Though LeBron James reportedly stayed out of the Lakers' hiring process, he does have a relationship with Redick through the podcast they have co-hosted since March, "Mind the Game." Buy-in from the locker room was surely an important factor in this hire for the Lakers, as reports indicated that former coach Darvin Ham had lost the support of his players throughout last season.

Still, the Lakers represent an extremely difficult job for a coach with no experience. Expectations are high for a team that won the 2020 championship and reached the 2023 Western Conference finals. Los Angeles' best player, James, turns 40 this season. Fellow superstar Anthony Davis is coming off of an excellent, durable campaign, but prior to the 2023-24 season, he had missed an average of over 28 games per year since joining the Lakers.

L.A. has reportedly been targeting star additions this offseason with Donovan Mitchellat the top of their wishlist. With only three first-round picks to trade, though, it's unclear whether the Lakers will be able to put together a strong enough package to land such a difference-making player. They could potentially use those picks to target role players instead, but the team will have luxury tax concerns next season assuming that starting point guard D'Angelo Russell is retained or replaced with a player of a similar price.

While winning now is obviously a priority, The Athletic's Jovan Buha said during the search that the Lakers "want a coach that can be their version of an Erik Spoelstra, their version of a Steve Kerr." That's referring to a coach who can become a long-term fixture for the organization.

Historically speaking, the Lakers have struggled to find such a coach. Redick will be the franchise's seventh full-time coach since Phil Jackson retired in 2011. If a star cannot be found this offseason, it is unclear who will lead the next generation of Lakers on the court after the 39-year-old James and 31-year-old Davis age out of stardom.

Redick and the Rob Pelinka-led front office will need to answer that question over time. For now, the focus is on maximizing the end of LeBron's legendary career. The Lakers have taken a sizable risk by entrusting these years to a newcomer to the coaching world, but given the interest Redick had generated over the past few years, the reward may well be worth it.

Lakers hire JJ Redick as head coach: 15-year NBA veteran, TV analyst takes over Los Angeles franchise (2024)
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