JJ Redick, James Borrego and Sam Cassel emerge as prime early targets for Lakers coaching job: Sources

CHICAGO — As the Los Angeles Lakers begin contacting head coaching candidates and scheduling interviews this week, JJ Redick, James Borrego and Sam Cassel have emerged as initial top targets for the franchise, league sources said. The athlete.

The franchise’s next coach will be tasked with guiding the end of the LeBron James-Anthony Davis era – likely a two-year window – and then the next era of Lakers basketball under Davis. Los Angeles is looking for a coach who can grow with the franchise for years to come, according to team and league sources, with an emphasis on maximizing the greatness of Davis, current returning players and an element of high-level player development.

As one source familiar with the situation said: “This has to be more hiring around AD than LeBron.”

The Lakers are expected to conduct an initial round of coaching interviews with previously unvetted candidates, league sources said, allowing team officials to get to know those individuals on a human level before moving on to the next phrase.

The Lakers are looking for a coach who will lead the locker room and hold players accountable, as well as relentlessly game plan and provide a level of structure and organization, according to those sources.

One person who has become a respected unofficial resource for the Lakers during the process is legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose deep knowledge of candidates, like Redick and others, provides a lens into the culture the organization wants and the characteristics of potential hires about the next head coach, multiple sources familiar with the matter say. Krzyzewski’s history with the Lakers dates back to 2004 when Dr. Jerry Buss made an aggressive but unsuccessful bid to hire Coach K.

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like The athlete Reportedly after the firing of head coach Darvin Hamm, the Lakers’ top initial candidates were Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue (whose contract expires next season), Redick, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, and Mike Budenholzer (who recently replaced Frank Vogel as coach). Phoenix Suns head coach) and former Boston Celtics assistant coach Charles Lee (Who recently became the head coach Charlotte Hornets).

Since then, Redick, a 39-year-old ESPN analyst and 15-year NBA veteran; Borrego, the 46-year-old assistant coach of the New Orleans Pelicans who previously coached the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets; Cassel, the 54-year-old Boston Celtics assistant coach who was an assistant coach for 15 years after a 15-year NBA career, has emerged as top initial targets for the Lakers.

Denver Nuggets assistant coach David Adelman, Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Mika Nouri and Miami Heat assistant coach Chris Quinn are expected to be among the other candidates, according to league and team sources.

Reddick has yet to coach above the youth level, making him the biggest unknown among coaching candidates. He’s the most likely candidate in the showdown given his high-profile playing career, work as a media personality and his recent “Mind the Game” podcast with James.

Despite his lack of coaching experience at the NBA level, he is considered one of the most promising prospects on the market, and has made it clear both publicly and privately that he has a strong desire to make the leap to the head coaching position. Redick interviewed with the Hornets as head coach recently and interviewed with the Toronto Raptors’ opening staff last season.

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Borrego, an assistant coach for New Orleans under Willie Green, was one of the driving forces behind the Pelicans’ offensive improvement from 20th in points scored per 100 possessions in 2022-23 to 11th last season. Borrego led the Hornets to 43 wins in his final season in 2021-22 (still their most as an organization since the 2015-16 season). He was 148-183 (.447) in his four additional seasons as head coach in Charlotte and his 30-game stint as the Magic’s interim coach.

Cassel, who joined the Celtics last season, has coached under Flip Saunders, Randy Whitman, Doc Rivers and Joe Mazzola. He was one of Rivers’ chief assistants in nine of his 15 coaching seasons. Cassel is highly respected by players and has a strong reputation for developing players. He won three championships as a player (1994 and 1995 in Houston, 2008 in Boston).

like The athlete It was reported after the Lakers’ Game 5 loss to the Nuggets that James is expected to play up to two more seasons in the NBA, a source familiar with his thinking said. This means that this coach will likely be the last coach in James’ career in the scenario that he re-signs with the Lakers.

Los Angeles is open to discussing any framework for a deal for James’ return, as well as the possibility of including Bronny James in next month’s NBA draft, according to team sources. Bronny James intends to remain in the draft, participating in all pre-draft activities starting with the Combine this week in Chicago and next week’s Pro Days in Los Angeles before narrowing the list of interested teams down to about a handful.

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(Top image: Tyler Ross/NBAE via Getty Images)

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