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Lakers’ low-ball provide for Dan Hurley is strictly what’s unsuitable with the NBA’s marquee franchise

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When the Detroit Pistons badly wished Monty Williams as their head coach final offseason, they moved heaven and earth to make it occur. The deal that lastly secured the previous NBA Finalist reset the teaching market: six years, $78.5 million. Within the 12 months or so since then, just about each prime coach within the NBA has cashed in. Erik Spoelstra acquired the costliest teaching contract in NBA historical past at a reported $120 million over eight years. Steve Kerr did not fairly attain that size, however his common annual wage of $17.5 million on a two-year extension with the Warriors pays him extra yearly. Gregg Popovich and Ty Lue have re-upped in that vary. Tom Thibodeau doubtless will in some unspecified time in the future this offseason. That is what a prime NBA head coach prices now.

Let’s evaluate the monetary sources accessible to the Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers. Forbes estimates that the Lakers, as a franchise, are value greater than twice as a lot: $6.4 billion vs. $3.08 billion. Solely the Warriors earned extra estimated income than the $516 million that Forbes projected for the Lakers final 12 months. The Pistons got here in at a way more modest $274 million. Economically talking, these are two groups that must be punching in numerous weight courses.

So when the time got here for the Lakers to go all-in on Dan Hurley, their coach of alternative, how a lot did they provide? In line with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski: $70 million over six years.

Williams is, clearly, a extra confirmed NBA commodity than Hurley. However previously, the Lakers have not shied away from providing top-dollar for school coaches. They famously tried to lure Mike Krzyzewski in 2004 with a five-year, $40 million provide that might have paid him on the prime of the market. Return even additional they usually have been keen to pay prime greenback for UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian in 1979 as nicely. These pursuits got here with Dr. Jerry Buss on the helm. The elder Buss additionally fortunately paid Phil Jackson on the prime of the market to take over the Lakers in 1999, after which once more in 2005.

However teaching has been a persistent downside in the course of the Jeanie Buss period, and that is not simply due to the revolving door the Lakers have put in within the head coach’s workplace. The Lakers at the moment are in search of their seventh full-time coach since Jackson retired in 2011, however getting hires unsuitable is one factor. Low-balling the suitable candidates is sort of one other, and currently, the Lakers have developed a disturbing behavior of creating their most well-liked coaches underwhelming presents over the previous a number of years.

The Lakers pursued Lue within the 2019 offseason to interchange Luke Walton. The match was apparent. Lue had gained a championship with LeBron James. He was a former Lakers champion himself. He was nonetheless very younger by teaching requirements at simply 42. He ought to have been arrange because the coach of the Lakers for probably a decade or extra.

As a substitute, the Lakers didn’t safe their man. Lue addressed these talks in an interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk years later. “The Lakers [saw it] extra in order like [I’m just] coming to teach LeBron,” he mentioned. “No, I am coming to win. I simply did not suppose I used to be handled pretty. And I wasn’t simply going to just accept any provide simply to get a job.” The reported provide, on the time, was pitiful: simply $18 million over three years. That provide would have aligned Lue’s contract with James’, supporting his principle that the Lakers did not deal with him as a long-term coach. His earlier cope with the Cavaliers paid him $35 million over 5 years. Such a dedication is the usual for championship-winners.

And but, when the Lakers actually had their very own championship winner, they did not do significantly better. Frank Vogel accepted the job that Lue turned down, and he did it beneath the three-year phrases that offended Lue. He proceeded to win a championship in his first season. The Lakers did not lengthen him till 10 months later. They solely gave him one additional 12 months, in keeping with reporting from The Athletic on the time. This regardless of Vogel following up his championship effort by main the Lakers to a No. 1 defensive rating regardless of each James and Anthony Davis lacking vital time as a result of harm. Had Davis not gotten harm within the first spherical of the 2021 postseason, the Lakers simply might have made one other deep run.

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So what occurred to Vogel? Properly, the Lakers panicked after one disappointing playoff run. Rob Pelinka determined to make a commerce for Russell Westbrook that James pushed for. When that commerce blew up, neither Pelinka nor James confronted the results for it. Vogel was scapegoated for unhealthy choices the remainder of the group made. Hey, a minimum of eliminating him was comparatively low cost on that one-year extension.

The Lakers have lengthy been keen to pay for the perfect expertise on the ground. They’ve now paid the luxurious tax three years in a row with James and Davis on the prime of their roster. However the Lakers have additionally by no means been identified for making related investments in behind-the-scenes personnel. Head coach was, at one time, an exception. These days, it hasn’t been.

There is no such thing as a telling if there was ever a determine Hurley would have taken to teach the Lakers. It is totally attainable that the prospect to win a 3rd consecutive nationwide championship coupled along with his deep northeastern roots meant that there was no provide he ever would have taken to teach the Lakers.

However these are the Los Angeles Lakers we’re speaking about right here. They’re the NBA’s marquee franchise, a 17-time champion with the entire sources that include such a historical past and the Hollywood glamour that helped create it. There is no such thing as a world during which their model of an all-in provide for a head coach must be smaller than Detroit’s. That it was reveals why Hurley was most likely proper to move on this job. The Lakers both do not perceive or are willfully ignoring the league’s present teaching market. In the event that they weren’t keen to pay Hurley market-rate, would they’ve shelled out for prime assistants? Would they’ve paid for the infrastructure it will have taken for him to implement his total program?

It is exhausting to say. Their latest historical past suggests the reply is not any. The Lakers have all the time been keen to pay for stars previously. It simply appears as if their commonplace of a star coach has turn into impossibly slender. In the event that they weren’t even keen to pay a Pistons value for Hurley, it is exhausting to think about that they are ever going to be keen to make the kind of off-court investments it’s going to take to construct the kind of sustainable, profitable tradition they hoped Hurley might carry.



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