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Monday, June 10, 2024

Lakers get publicly embarrassed by Dan Hurley and present the NBA they do not actually have a plan

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LOS ANGELES — The Lakers did not simply lose their man Monday when Dan Hurley turned down their provide to be the crew’s head coach. In addition they appear to have misplaced the thread.

That the UConn coach turned down the Lakers reported six-year, $70 million provide just isn’t on its face a shock. Hurley has an opportunity to chase a 3rd straight NCAA championship, a feat not completed since John Wood 50 years in the past. The Lakers job may additionally have been a poisoned chalice — all of the glitz and purple-and-gold glamor on the surface, however one thing a lot trickier to navigate as soon as ensconced within the precise job.

And, associated and linked to the subsequent level, there is no assure a hard-charging, no-NBA-experience rent like Hurley would match effectively with LeBron James. The KIng’s exacting requirements, explicit view of how his groups ought to function and choice to be a companion with a head coach somewhat than a subordinate would have been fascinating to see with Hurley, to say the least.

No, the true shock right here is that the Lakers don’t appear to know what they’re doing or whom, precisely, they’d prefer to change into.

Let’s begin with the embarrassment of chasing an actual gamble — and Hurley was simply that — earlier than being spurned in such a public, slow-moving method. It makes the Lakers look small. It supplies a sheen of amateurism. It begs the query why they’d put themselves on the market like for a university coach who did not need the job.

Hurley very effectively could have been an enormous success in Los Angeles. He’s, clearly, a confirmed winner. Scouts and front-office personnel who’ve scouted UConn’s draft prospects have been impressed with the tactical stage of these groups, significantly on the offensive finish. Perhaps Hurley would have made that precarious leap from the heights of school basketball to the far more difficult terrain of NBA head teaching with uncommon acumen.

Just a few have carried out it efficiently — Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan are the listing — however the previous doesn’t all the time predict the longer term. And the longer listing of failed faculty head coaches on the NBA stage left many in Boston at Video games 1 and a pair of of the NBA Finals, and colleagues in NBA places of work across the nation, skeptical.

It is one factor to be turned down publicly. It is one other to be the Lakers — the storied Lakers — and have a university coach, any faculty coach, drag issues out, announce he’ll render his judgment in a day, then say, in impact, I can do higher.

Suppose how JJ Redick should really feel now. The ESPN broadcaster, former participant and not-so-long-ago supposed high candidate to be LeBron’s subsequent head coach just isn’t precisely famend for his small ego. This should have stung — a public courtship of another person, out of the blue, after giving off I will-confirm-my-new-head-coaching-gig vibes on his podcast in what felt like 30 seconds earlier than Hurley’s emergence.

And having to go on nationwide tv each few nights and fake you hadn’t simply been dumped for another person.

Similar for James Borrego, the present New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach. Sources consider he could possibly be supplied the Cleveland Cavaliers job within the subsequent week, and he, too, was left in an odd limbo-meets-rejection over the previous few days.

Similar for all of the candidates — these with precise NBA expertise — pressured to observe the Lakers’ failed full-court press with Hurley.

However the greatest concern right here, and probably the most alarming signal that this group would not have an actual plan, is the very fact its two strongest candidates couldn’t have been extra totally different. 

Hurley would have been an funding in a imaginative and prescient of the Lakers taking part in an extended recreation: Participant improvement, trying towards a post-LeBron actuality (the 39-year-old has a participant possibility this summer season he is largely anticipated to say no), possibly turning what will probably be entry to a few first-round picks later this month into the groundwork within the years forward of a crew imbued with youth as an alternative of fodder for a commerce.

Redick would sign a really totally different plan: A give attention to LeBron’s waning years and the hope and plan he is stays a Laker for them (the 2 are, in any case, podcast companions), an emphasis on competing within the quick time period maybe on the expense of what is down the street, probably buying and selling these three first-round picks for a participant like Trae Younger or Donovan Mitchell, and going for one final blast of glory with a LeBron-Anthony Davis tandem.

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These are very totally different visions, and bouncing from Redick to Hurley and, now, maybe again once more to Redick begs the query: Do the Lakers have a concrete plan?

Do they even know what they’re doing?

Properly-run organizations resolve on a imaginative and prescient, craft a plan and execute it accordingly, from the gamers they covet to the sort of head coaches they search. What Houston has carried out, for instance, to rebuild, is a vastly totally different plan than what the Mavs did to attempt to maximize this Luka-Kyrie window. 

The plan in Orlando just isn’t even remotely the identical as what Phoenix requires with its quickly closing title window, which is why the Suns simply paid Mike Budenholzer big-time cash. Win-now just isn’t the identical factor as working on a multi-year timeline, and, relying on the strategy, you require totally different gamers and totally different coaches to take action.

These are tough questions and issues for L.A. On the one hand, LeBron remains to be LeBron, regardless of his age, and the Lakers have a well-honored historical past of leaning into its stars, even of their later years. Speaking your self into operating it again with LeBron James could make sense. However, the West goes to be a minefield within the years forward. A rebuild, with a watch towards just a few years from now and a plan to construct one thing lasting, if time consuming, additionally has its deserves.

The Lakers appear as an alternative to be working as if hiring an NBA head coach is like scrolling by way of Netflix for a film on a Friday night time. A “let’s simply see what grabs us” is not precisely a sound option to run an NBA group.

There are penalties for this sort of slipshod, public, throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks strategy. 

Contemplate this: Now that Hurley has publicly turned down the Lakers, what should you provide to get a candidate who can each win and, as vital in Los Angeles, win the press convention as a large enough “title.”

And might L.A. actually afford, now, to have the unlikely however not unattainable situation unfold through which LeBron decides to go some place else?

In all probability not. Which LeBron certainly is aware of, a reality that provides him loads of leverage. 

It is fairly attainable LeBron may have a good firmer say in who will get the gig, and that he and his information coach will push aggressively to commerce these three first-rounders for an additional star in an effort to win now.

That is fantastic as a well-thought-out plan. It is not because the unintended penalties of getting publicly embarrassed by Hurley.

The Lakers chased a shocker in going after UConn’s man. However having been turned down by him, the most important shock of all may be that the crew he in the end handed on has no actual plan — nor any concept what, precisely, its imaginative and prescient is to win the times that observe.

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