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Lakers are zeroing in on JJ Redick as front-runner to become their next head coach, per report

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The Los Angeles Lakers are zeroing in on JJ Redick as the front-runner to replace Darvin Ham as their next head coach, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Redick, currently a broadcaster for ESPN, is set to announce the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks. Multiple reports have indicated that if Redick is indeed the choice for the Lakers, it would likely be announced after the Finals so as not to interfere with his broadcasting duties. The Lakers are not done with their process, and according to Charania, their focus in recent weeks has been on both Redick and former Hornets coach James Borrego, but the indications at this stage are that Redick is the leading candidate for the job.

Redick has no coaching experience beyond the youth level, and only retired as a player three years ago following a 15-year stint as an NBA sharpshooter. He has since become a hot coaching candidate due to his impressive work as a broadcaster, pundit and podcaster for ESPN and other outlets. He interviewed for head-coaching jobs with the Toronto Raptors last offseason and the Charlotte Hornets this offseason, and was even reportedly a finalist for the Hornets job that ultimately went to Charles Lee. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla has said that he tried to hire Redick as an assistant last offseason.

Redick would join a recent lineage of players who have made the jump directly from playing to coaching if he indeed lands the Laker job. Jason Kidd and Derek Fisher both immediately became head coaches in the following season after retiring. Steve Nash took nearly a decade off, but he also became a head coach of the Brooklyn Nets without ever serving as a full-time assistant. The gold standard of head coaches without prior coaching experience is Steve Kerr, though he had been the general manager of the Suns before taking over as head coach of the Warriors.

Redick has at least one notable connection to the Lakers through one of his podcasts, Mind the Game, which he co-hosts with LeBron James. The James camp has been adamant throughout this search that he is not involved in this Lakers hire, but it never hurts a candidate to have a pre-existing relationship with his new team’s best player.

Throughout this process, the Lakers have seemingly been looking for a coach that can become a long-term fixture in the organization rather than simply a win-now figure for James and Anthony Davis. Charania and Jovan Buha reported in May that the Lakers view Redick as a “Pat Riley-like coaching prospect,” and now, it appears as though he will have a chance to prove himself for the purple and gold next season.

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