Whether you like it or not, Los Angeles Lakers talk is what gets people going, fans and critics alike especially. Such has been evident this week when their head coaching search became a hot topic while the league is leading up to the NBA Finals.

First, reports of the Purple and Gold “zeroing” in on retired NBA veteran and current analyst JJ Redick heated up, as reported by Shams Charania. It got everyone talking as it was deemed as a risky and questionable hire:

Then, out of nowhere, Adrian Wojnarowski sent a tweet (at 6:50 AM EST, no less) that delivered a plot twist. The Lakers are actually targeting University of Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley primarily, and are now expected to offer a “massive” contract.

Quick background on Dan Hurley

Dan played college basketball at Seton Hall University under PJ Carlesimo. He is the younger brother of Bobby Hurley, who starred on the legendary Duke Blue Devils teams in the early 1990s and won two titles. Bobby also played in the NBA for five years.

The two worked together at Wagner and Rhode Island between 2010 and 2013, and improved the school’s programs before they left, with Dan being the head coach and Bobby as an assistant. The younger Hurley moved to UConn in 2018 and steadily built from there.

Fast forward to now and Hurley is considered one of the best minds in all of college basketball, also fresh-off stirring the Huskies to back-to-back NCAA championships, dominating the tournament on both occasions. They won by an average of 15 points in 2023 and a whopping 23.3 points in 2024.

Why Dan Hurley?

The Lakers are in a crucial period. They are likely balancing their next hire on these two factors: one who can handle LeBron James while also being able to develop guys for the future. 

It’s a tough venn diagram that only a short list of people can fill, but Hurley could be one of the few. He’s an excellent Xs and Os guy that lifted UConn’s offense into one of the most unique in all of college hoops. There’s a lot of set plays disguised as a different scheme, so much so that it would look like a broken play that got luckily saved or–as the team’s own commentator believed–an improvisation.

There’s also a ton of action, with multiple cuts, fake hand-offs, and off-ball screens on the same play, all layered to give a variety of looks for the passer.

Such is an instant attraction for James, which is actually why Redick became a choice in the first place. Coincidentally, Hurley guested on Redick’s podcast just this past Apri and discussed his team’s style.

Further, as a college coach that’s always eyeing and honing talent, he has a proven track record in expanding players’ games, and that, on the other hand, could also be good for the Lakers’ future. Hurley can squeeze more out of the team’s youngsters – Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbit, Max Christie, Jalen Hood-Schifino, etc.

Of course, there’s concern about the huge adjustment he’ll have to make from coaching college kids to actual grown men, especially since many have previously failed. However, this is always a solid risk, and there’s alsoa  chance he can be like what Brad Stevens is to the Boston Celtics. 

But can the Lakers actually snag Hurley?

Hurley has expressed his desire to move up and try the NBA level, so that’s a plus. With two championships under his belt, he also doesn’t have much to prove in the NCAA.

The hurdles now, however, are the cons of the potential move. Hurley just signed a six-year, $32 million extension at UConn last year, and while he has an out on the deal, leaving early would cause him to owe the school a good amount of money, and that’s on top of walking away from a much secure and comfortable spot.

We’ll likely know more in the next couple of days. As Wojnarowski has said, the Lakers are “relentless” in luring their guy, so we’ll see how good their convincing power is soon.