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June 6, 2024

Report: NBA’s LA Lakers pursuing UConn coach Dan Hurley

UConn Athletics UConn coach Dan Hurley cuts down the nets after leading the Huskies to the 2023 NCAA championship.

After leading the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team to its second consecutive NCAA national championship this spring, coach Dan Hurley said he had “no desire to coach college basketball anywhere else.”

He never said anything about the NBA.

According to a report published Thursday by ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers are “preparing a massive, long-term contract offer” for Hurley to be the storied franchise’s next head coach.

The news broke just two days after UConn announced that women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, 70, had signed a five-year contract extension valued at $18.7 million. 

The school reportedly also was discussing a new contract with Hurley, who just last year signed a six-year, $32.1 million agreement.

According to the ESPN report, sources said the Lakers have had “preliminary contact with Hurley and the sides are planning to escalate discussions in the coming days.”

The team last month fired head coach Darvin Ham, who had led the team for two years. The Lakers were ousted from the first round of the NBA playoffs this year by the Denver Nuggets. 

According to the ESPN report, Hurley has been the leading target to replace Ham from the beginning of the search process.

Other published reports, including one from the online sports news site The Athletic, say former NBA player JJ Redick is the frontrunner for the job.

Hurley, 51, has coached the Huskies for six years. He was hired from the University of Rhode Island in 2018 to succeed Kevin Ollie, and has since rebuilt the program into a national powerhouse. Since the team rejoined the Big East Conference, he has led the Huskies to four NCAA tournament berths and back-to-back titles in 2022-34 and 2023-24, the school’s fifth and sixth national championships.

Including his two years coaching at Wagner College in New York and six years at URI, his overall college coaching record in 14 years is 292-163.

Following the latest national title, Hurley reportedly turned down an offer to succeed John Calipari as the head coach of the University of Kentucky. 

UConn is expected to compete for a potential third-straight title this year, even though four of its five starters are expected to be drafted into the NBA, thanks to two straight outstanding recruiting classes and recent high-level transfers, as well as the return of star forward Alex Karaban.

This is not the first time the Lakers have pursued a big time college coach. In 2004 they offered a then-record-breaking contract to Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski, but he chose to stay in the college ranks.

The Lakers last won an NBA championship in 2020.

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