HomeSportsLatest Lakers information: Sources consider JJ Redick a leading coaching candidate

Latest Lakers information: Sources consider JJ Redick a leading coaching candidate

As the Lakers continued to meet with prospects in the final days of the NBA draft combine, their coaching search remained a major talking point among rival scouts and executives.

Internally, Lakers sources not authorized to speak publicly have tried to describe their coaching search as a “wide open” process, with things still in the early stages.

Following the firing of Darvin Ham, the team began investigating a range of candidates, including top assistants, former head coaches and, yes, broadcaster-podcaster JJ Redick.

Candidate interviews are short, but so far anything discussed with certainty is called “hypothetical” by candidates involved in the process.

Read more: Lakers Newsletter: Would JJ Redick be a good fit as Lakers coach?

But despite what the Lakers say, many around the league view Redick as the favorite and offered varying levels of approval.

Some see Redick as a smart, analytically driven basketball mind with an excellent understanding of the game and excellent communication and presentation skills.

Some wonder if Redick’s business relationship with LeBron James would poison his ability to connect with the rest of the locker room, a view voiced prominently on television by Udonis Haslem.

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Others see only inexperience and view the Lakers’ job as a disaster waiting to happen even for experienced coaches, let alone one moving from the television booth to his first coaching job.

Part of what is driving expectations that Redick will get the Lakers job is the belief that he will have incredibly strong job interviews, according to sources who have been discouraged from discussing personnel moves for competitive reasons.

Read more: Lakers’ next coach? Here you will find an overview of the potential candidates

The reality is that no one can say for sure at this stage.

New Orleans assistant James Borrego has strong support for his candidacy and is highly rated by Pelicans staff and executives who spoke to The Times.

Boston’s Sam Cassell, an NBA assistant since 2009 after a 15-season career, is expected to interview soon and has real support from others around the league.

The same can be said for prospects like Miami’s Chris Quinn, Minnesota’s Micah Nori and Denver’s David Adelman.

The race appears to be open enough that anyone with a direct or second-hand connection to candidates felt comfortable making a pitch in Chicago.

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The Lakers’ offseason plans, and to some extent their coaching plans, also depend on LeBron James and his future with the organization.

Lakers forward LeBron James smiles during a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics on MondayLakers forward LeBron James smiles during a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics on Monday

James’ performance in Cleveland on Monday night raised suspicions around the league about his intentions. Sources largely believe the Lakers will eventually re-sign James, with the 39-year-old star merely working through different scenarios for the terms of the contract.

According to sources, there were also discussions about the Lakers and their interest in Cleveland guard Donovan Mitchell.

The Lakers’ best offer in any blockbuster trade is somewhat similar, with the team able to offer their first-round pick in the year’s draft – No. 17 – in addition to the first-round picks in 2029 and 2031. Their best young player, Austin Reaves is still highly regarded within the organization on two fronts: as a prospect for their future and as a player with a team-friendly contract.

The team’s willingness to go all-in on Mitchell or another player is still unclear. Other options include using draft picks in non-blockbuster deals to try to improve margins, with Dallas’ acquisitions of Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington providing real-time examples of how non-superstar trades can have a meaningful and immediate impact to have.

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Read more: If Bronny James isn’t thinking about playing with his dad, he would love to go to the NBA

Other players often mentioned as potential trade targets this offseason include New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram, Atlanta’s Trae Young and DeJounte Murray and Chicago’s Zach LaVine — none seriously linked to the Lakers at the combine.

As for the draft, it appears the Lakers will be the draft floor for Bronny James at pick 55, a player the team interviewed in Chicago, according to sources not authorized to discuss draft strategy publicly.

James has undeniably increased his stock in Chicago with strong interviews, impressive athletic testing and strong play during a scrimmage on Wednesday, helping to counteract the bad feelings after measuring 6-foot-4 in socks.

Some other players who helped themselves in scrimmages, according to scouts, included Houston’s Jamal Shead, UCLA’s Adem Bona, Marquette’s Oso Ighodaro and Colorado’s KJ Simpson.

The Lakers’ first-round pick at 17 is roughly in the middle of the second tier of the draft, some scouts believe. That level includes players like Ja’Kobe Walter, Terrence Shannon, Tidjane Salaun, Jared McCain, Devin Carter, Yves Missi, Kyle Filipowski, Tyler Smith and Tristan da Silva.

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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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