Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts during the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets in game one of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

While much of the drama of the Dan Hurley-Los Angeles Lakers dance revolved around the reporting dynamic between Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski offering dueling perspectives about the hiring process, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that the Lakers swung for the fences with a big offer and failed to land a major coaching candidate. And for longtime Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, it’s another humbling moment for the NBA’s flagship franchise.

In a column on Tuesday after Hurley decided to stay in Connecticut and try to lead the Huskies to a three-peat as national champions, Plaschke unloaded on the franchise for their failure to land a top-tier coaching candidate.

But this says more about the Lakers.

This says the Lakers must have one of the worst head coaching jobs in the history of organized basketball.

This says the Lakers’ front office must be viewed as an unadulterated mess.

This says LeBron James must be considered such a coach killer that even the most secure coach in the game wants no part of him.

This is embarrassing.


This is humiliating for Lakers fans to watch a college coach who has never worked a moment in the NBA refuse a chance to work for the most celebrated of NBA franchises.

This is demeaning for a Lakers team that possesses arguably the greatest player in basketball history, and one of the top 10 players in the current league, and yet were still snubbed as if they were the junior varsity.

This is disillusioning for a Lakers franchise that Hurley personally examined during his recent interview here, saw the best they had to offer, and said … nah.

Plaschke compared Hurley’s rejection to the time the Lakers offered the job to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to stay in college.

Perhaps it’s a little harsh from Plaschke’s perspective given how much success Hurley has had in college and how difficult it must be to leave a place where he and his family are obviously comfortable and found a lot of success. And as many voices including Zach Lowe have argued, it’s not like the Lakers are an immediate title contender, especially in a stacked Western Conference where they’ve recently been little more than a play-in round team.

But lest you think Plaschke was just frustrated with the Hurley process, he also had some stinging words for the team’s other leading candidate – JJ Redick – calling him a “horrible choice” for the job.

So here we go again, a Pelinka coaching search for the third time in five years, and what happens? He gets it wrong again.

He seemingly settled on a horrible choice in JJ Redick — never coached anybody at any level above youth league — and then smartly realized his mistake and took a hearty swing for arguably one of the best coaches anywhere, a two-time defending NCAA champion boss with toughs and smarts and tons of charisma.

Hurley is a unicorn, but so are the Lakers, and it was a match made in purple-and-gold heaven.

Most thought the Lakers would land him. How could the Lakers not land him?

Now we play the waiting game as to whether or not the Lakers circle back to Redick or start over and hire someone else. Whoever the new coach is going to be is going to face an enormous spotlight though after the Hurley saga concluded. It’s impossible to predict whether it’ll be a success or not. But regardless, as we’ve seen with the Dallas Cowboys over the last 20 years, it’s almost better business for the sports media when these humongous franchises face adversity and challenges. Whether it’s self-inflicted or not. The more the Lakers coaching drama goes on, the more content everyone gets to produce.

[Los Angeles Times]