Adrian Wojnarowski, Dan Hurley, JJ Redick, and Shams Charania. Adrian Wojnarowski, Dan Hurley, JJ Redick, and Shams Charania.

Discussion of the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coaching search took a major turn Thursday. For weeks, following the team’s firing of Darvin Ham after a first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets, ESPN/ABC NBA analyst J.J. Redick had been speculated as a likely figure there. And NBA insider Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic escalated that Tuesday with a report that the team was “zeroing in” on Redick “as the “frontrunner to be the franchise’s next head coach.”

However, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski came out with a rather different report Thursday. There, he said the Lakers are “preparing a massive long term offer” for UConn’s Dan Hurley, and have been targeting him throughout:

Wojnarowski then said on First Take that everyone else the Lakers were considering was just “due diligence”:

Here’s more from Wojnarowski’s written piece at

The Los Angeles Lakers are targeting UConn men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley as the franchise’s next coach and are preparing a massive, long-term contract offer to bring the back-to-back NCAA national champion to the NBA, sources told ESPN.

The Lakers have had preliminary contact with Hurley and the sides are planning to escalate discussions in the coming days, sources told ESPN. Hurley has been at the forefront of the Lakers’ search from the beginning of the process, even while the organization has done its due diligence interviewing several other candidates, sources said.

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and governor Jeanie Buss are eager to formally discuss with Hurley their vision of marrying his dominant program — built upon both his tactical acumen and elite player development — with the storied Lakers brand, sources said.

This would be notable even if it was “The Lakers had been targeting Redick, but have switched to Hurley.” But Wojnarowski’s piece goes well beyond that, saying Hurley “has been at the forefront of the Lakers’ search from the beginning of the process,” and that other candidate interviews were only “due diligence.”

That’s a significant contrast to Charania’s piece at The Athletic Tuesday, which had the Lakers “zeroing in” on Redick and mentioning him and New Orleans Pelicans’ associate head coach James Borrego as the main candidates. Here’s more from that piece:

The Los Angeles Lakers are zeroing in on JJ Redick as the front-runner to be the franchise’s next head coach, league and media industry sources told The Athletic.

No final decision has been made yet, and the Lakers still have steps remaining in their head-coaching search process, league sources said. But the indications are strong that Redick is their leading choice at this stage.

The Lakers’ search has been seriously focused on two candidates — Redick and Pelicans associate head coach James Borrego — over the last couple of weeks, league sources said.

Redick was the first candidate to have a face-to-face meeting with the Lakers three weeks ago, and Borrego did an in-person interview with Lakers officials for a second time last week and the franchise has been impressed with him during the process, according to team sources. Anthony Davis and Borrego, who overlapped briefly in New Orleans, have also built a rapport recently.

And on Wednesday, Charania went on The Pat McAfee Show and repeated that “zeroing in” and “frontrunner” language,” adding “really infatuated,” and citing Redick’s Mind The Game podcast with LeBron James as a key reason for that:

Here’s some of what he said there:

“The Lakers have been zeroing in on JJ Redick as a frontrunner for this job and the belief around the NBA has been, at least in the last few days, any announcement will come after the Finals. He’s obviously a color commentator for the NBA Finals. But he was the first coach to meet face to face with the Lakers…JJ Redick has emerged himself as the frontrunner for this job.”

“…The Lakers have been really infatuated with JJ Redick,” Charania continued, prompting McAfee to ask if the Lakers were infatuated with Redick’s podcast.

“That might have played a part. To say you’re not evaluating his IQ and how he speaks…following his career from a media perspective, a lot of respect for what he’s built and what he’s done. But when you see someone speak the way he does, has the relationship with the players, you’re gonna take notes.”

Hilariously, Redick, podcasts, and James came up in Wojnarowski’s ESPN piece on Hurley too. But that involved James praising Hurley to Redick after Redick interviewed Hurley:

Oh, and also on the podcast front, Hurley told Mike Francesa this week (unprompted) that he was interested in the NBA. That comment comes around the 30:20 mark here:

“UConn fits me perfectly. I do aspire, one day, if the right NBA situation were to come along.”

At any rate, on Thursday, Charania and Sam Vecenie put out an Athletic piece confirming Wojnarowski’s report on the Lakers contacting Hurley and preparing to offer him a contract:

The Lakers and Connecticut coach Dan Hurley are in contact about Los Angeles’ head-coaching vacancy, team and league sources confirmed Thursday.

The Lakers are preparing a long-term contract offer to the 51-year-old Hurley, according to ESPN, which first reported the talks.

There are a few other things worth mentioning here. Charania has been at the center of other Redick reports, including an April one that he was interviewing for the Charlotte Hornets’ head coaching job (they eventually went with Charles Lee). And Redick has gotten into dustups with Charania before, including calling a Dillon Brooks tweet from him “agenda-driven media” last year. And Redick specifically said Wednesday  “In terms of Shams, that will be addressed once the season’s over“; that could mean he’s disputing Charania’s reporting, but he didn’t spell that out.

However, Charania is far from the only one who has talked up the Redick-Lakers possibility. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin had Redick as “a real candidate” in early May, and Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times wrote that Redick was “viewed as the favorite” by NBA sources in mid-May. And Wojnarowski himself had the Lakers showing interest in Redick on May 11, saying he was “one name that they have been drilling down on in their initial research here” and “certainly somebody that they’re intrigued with.”

Wojnarowski’s report now doesn’t necessarily contradict what he said on May 11. He was careful to provide plenty of caveats in that previous report, including saying “Expect this to be a wide-ranging and lengthy search.” But Wojnarowski’s current report does go against much of the Redick-centric talk of the past few weeks, and it looks to be the first to mention Hurley.

This isn’t the first time that Wojnarowski and Charania have produced differing reports. And a notable dimension there is their history. The two worked together at Yahoo, with Wojnarowski often citing Charania’s newsbreaking abilities as an important part of the “The Vertical” site there around its 2016 launch.

But Wojnarowski moved on to ESPN in 2017, while Charania stayed at Yahoo for another year, then went to The Athletic and Stadium in 2018. And there have been significantly different reports from them on several fronts since then.

That’s perhaps to be expected considering how many reports these insiders each produce. But given their history, there’s also been lots of discussion about a rivalry. And this might be the latest chapter in that. For the moment, though, it looks like they’ve come to agreement that Hurley is the Lakers’ main target, even if that’s a significant change from what Charania reported earlier this week.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.