MNO Sports >MMA Arena >Dan Hurley to meet with Lakers Friday, reportedly "50-50" on becoming their next head coach - NBC Sports

Dan Hurley to meet with Lakers Friday, reportedly "50-50" on becoming their next head coach - NBC Sports

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NCAA Basketball: Final Four National Semifinal-Alabama vs Connecticut

Apr 6, 2024; Glendale, AZ, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley reacts against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the semifinals of the men’s Final Four of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what we know: Friday in Los Angeles, UConn coach Dan Hurley will sit down with the Lakers front office — and, presumably, team governor Jeanie Buss at one point — to formally interview for the team’s open head coaching position, according to multiple reports. If that goes well, it is expected that, at the end of it, the Lakers will offer Hurley their head coaching job at a salary that will likely be close to double his current salary with the Huskies.

Here is what we don’t know: What Dan Hurley and his family truly want.

Hurley is 50/50 right now on taking the Lakers job, according to Jeff Goodman of the Field of 68.

HUGE DAY as Dan Hurley will meet with the Lakers brass in Los Angeles. One source close to Hurley told @TheFieldOf68 it’s “50-50” whether he heads to the NBA or returns to UConn. Source told @TheFieldOf68 UConn has strong offer on table, but obviously can’t match or even get…

— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) June 7, 2024

There are a lot of questions Hurley needs to ask himself to figure out what he wants. Among them:

• Can he dial back his trademark intensity to coach in the NBA? Hurley’s reputation is that of an intense competitor who gets in the face of his players at practice and then in the face of referees during games. While that reputation can be a little overblown, and Hurley can be a bit performative at times, the reality is the NBA season is a marathon, a grind, and Hurley will have to dial it back a notch. There aren’t many practices during the NBA season — because of the every-other-day schedule, the travel, and the fact that the NBA is a recovery league — and the players expect to be treated like professionals. Coaches can pick their spots to get in a team’s face, or a player’s face, but Hurley can’t keep the volume turned up to 11. It’s the same with the referees. Every NBA coach complains about calls, some more than others, but there’s a line to walk about not pissing them off.

Is Hurley the same coach if he has to reign in that intensity?

• Hurley is the star at UConn, he decidedly would not be with the Lakers, does he want to give that up? The biggest adjustment for college coaches coming to the NBA is the change in the power dynamic — the players, particularly star players, have it in the Association. Hurley is basketball royalty and the biggest star at UConn. The Lakers have LeBron James. And Anthony Davis. Hurley would have some power based on his new contract, but the Lakers would not be his fiefdom, he would not get to pick his players (GM Rob Pelinka does that) and would have to win players over to get them pulling the rope in the same direction. It’s a different mindset and not every coach adjusts. Can Hurley check his ego and do all that?

• Does his family want to move to the West Coast? Hurley’s family is a big part of this decision. What do they want?

• Can he win with the Lakers? This may be part of what attracts Hurley, a guy with an underdog reputation, a fighter who loves to prove people wrong. Maybe the most challenging part of being the Lakers’ coach is the expectations — both in the building from the front office and ownership, and outside the building from a massive and, at times, delusional fan base — often outpace the actual talent on the roster. Living up to expectations in Los Angeles is next to impossible.

This is the NBA, every team has a good coach, and while better coaching can be an advantage it does not outstrip talent on the roster. The Lakers are led by turning-40 LeBron, and Davis, plus some solid role players. That’s in a West with Luka Doncic (age 25) and the Mavericks, the rising Oklahoma City Thunder led by 25-year-old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Minnesota Timberwolves led by 22-year-old Anthony Edwards, the Denver Nuggets and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, Memphis getting everyone healthy led by 24-year-old Ja Morant, and that doesn’t touch out the talent assembled in Phoenix or the rising stars, like what San Antonio is starting to build around Victor Wembanyama.

Hurley may look at the situation and say he’s won back-to-back national championships in UConn and he wants to take on a new challenge with the Lakers. Plus, there’s the money — the Lakers will bring a lot of it. Maybe the underdog fighter in him is ready for a new challenge, and there is no bigger challenge in basketball than the Lakers.

What does Dan Hurley really want? That’s what he has to decide in the next few days.

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