Lakers Coaching Rumors: JJ Redick Remains Frontrunner After First Round Of Interviews
JJ Redick, Lakers
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

One of the first names mentioned as a head coaching candidate for the Los Angeles Lakers when the position opened up was current ESPN analyst JJ Redick. The former player had a long NBA career and is extremely intelligent, but also has no coaching experience at any major level, making him a complete unknown.

Even still, Redick interviewed for the Charlotte Hornets job and was a finalist before they went with Boston Celtics assistant Charles Lee. Now, as the Lakers have begun meeting with candidates for the first round of interviews, Redick apparently continues to stand out.

On Friday, Shams Charania of The Athletic appeared on The Pat McAfee Show and said that the belief around the league is that Redick is the frontrunner to land the Lakers head coaching job as the team finishes up its first round of interviews:

“I’m told last week the Lakers met with JJ Redick in Chicago at the Draft Combine. They met for an extended period of time to really get to know him and spend time with him and he was the first candidate to really do a face-to-face meeting and then they brought in James Borrego in L.A. on Monday. Sam Cassell, David Adelman, Micah Nori, Chris Quinn is gonna get an interview as well in L.A. They’re finishing up their first round of interviews this week. Next week, I believe they’re gonna start their second phase in this process, getting more conversations with candidates, getting more basketball-centric conversations in, I think a lot of it now was surface level.

“But going into this process and right now, my sense is that JJ Redick, he is the guy around the league that everyone believes is the frontrunner for this job. He’s in position, I think there’s infatuation with JJ Redick right now just in terms of his ability for right now, but also being a coach the Lakers can have for years and years to come. That’s someone who’s young enough in the industry, young enough in the space where you feel like you have a four, five, maybe six-year runway with a guy like JJ Redick as your head coach where now you have him command the respect of a LeBron James and Anthony Davis.”

There are pros and cons to going with Redick as the franchise’s next head coach and it is anyone’s guess as to whether he will succeed. There is a very real possibility that Redick makes for an excellent head coach, but learning on the job for a team like the Lakers, where the pressure is unlike any other, is an extremely difficult task.

As Charania noted, the Lakers have a lot of candidates that they are giving a long look at and will really dig deep with their second round of interviews next week. But as it currently stands, Redick very well could be that guy.

And if the Lakers do decide that JJ Redick is the man for the job, it will not be due to any influence on the part of LeBron James. It had previously been reported that LeBron isn’t involved in the Lakers head coach search and his agent Rich Paul doubled down on that.

Paul reiterated that LeBron isn’t involved in the search and that the Lakers focus should be on appeasing Anthony Davis. Paul added that he and LeBron have great respect for Redick, but this is ultimately an organizational decision.

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