Surprise New Candidate Emerges for Lakers' Head Coaching Job

The reports about the Los Angeles Lakers coach search continue to take the NBA world by surprise.
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of an extended coaching drama. While it was widely assumed last week that J.J. Redick was going to be the next head coach of the Lakers, UConn head coach Dan Hurley's name emerged as the frontrunner. Lakers fans await Hurley's decision following their lucrative contract offer. At the same time, names of new candidates have begun to circulate in the media.

The latest coach linked with the Lakers is former Villanova head coach Jay Wright. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the two-time NCAA champion is a "stealth candidate" for the Lakers job.

"I had been warned early on by one well-placed insider, for what it’s worth, to stay ready in case former Villanova coach Jay Wright emerged as a stealth candidate. That backstory is sure to surface sooner rather than later… presumably soon after the Lakers do or don’t land Hurley."

Marc Stein, The Stein Line

This is a bombshell. At this point in the search, anyone but Redick or Hurley would be a shocking hire. But it is important to remember that no one thought of Hurley as a candidate this time last week.

Wright as a candidate makes plenty of sense. He is a similar coach to Hurley, both in terms of past experience and coaching style. Wright has led Villanova to two national championships and built a juggernaut of a program. During his 21-year tenure there, he was one of the most innovative and modern head coaches in college basketball.

The two-time Naismith College Coach of the Year retired from coaching in 2022. He has been a broadcaster for CBS/Turner Sports for the past two seasons. Whether he has any interest in going back to coaching to take on the challenging and thankless job of leading the Lakers is unknown.

Once we know more about Hurley's decision, we will likely find out more details about the Lakers' pursuit of Wright. However, it is a good sign that Los Angeles is casting a wide net for their search and considering experienced, well-respected coaches for the position.

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