US basketball

Lakers introduce JJ Redick as first-time head coach


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Lakers introduce JJ Redick as first-time head coach

FRESH FACE. Los Angeles Lakers head coach JJ Redick speaks to the media during an introductory news conference.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

‘I know what the expectations are,’ says former NBA player JJ Redick after taking on the high-pressure job of coaching LeBron James and the Lakers

JJ Redick took the reins of the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, June 24, claiming to know the stakes of stepping into a pressure cooker as a first-time head coach with championship expectations.

General manager Rob Pelinka said Redick was always in the franchise’s “Plan A pool” of candidates. He declined to elaborate on the coaching search that involved UConn’s Dan Hurley, beyond stating the Lakers were transparent with their new coach. 

Redick first met the Lakers’ brass in Chicago in mid-May, and he said he heard directly from Pelinka when news of Hurley’s candidacy broke.

Hurley turned down the Lakers’ offer to remain at Connecticut, where the Huskies will be attempting to win their third consecutive NCAA championship.

“He’s a two-time national champion. I understood,” Redick said of being a purported Plan B to Hurley’s Plan A.

Redick said stepping away from the media world and into coaching became his plan after interviewing with the Toronto Raptors last summer. He has kept a journal about coaching, which was first raised as a possibility by Rick Carlisle when Redick played for him in Dallas in 2021.

The Lakers fired Darvin Ham after two seasons and enter an offseason with multiple major question marks left to answer.

“We want to come in every day thinking about competition,” Redick said Monday. “I know what the expectations are. It’s my job. It’s Rob’s job. It’s all of our jobs to deliver a championship-caliber team. That’s what I signed up for.”

Redick, who turned 40 on Monday, said he’ll need “buy-in” from players to help his vision become reality. He’s already touched base in detail with Anthony Davis with the idea of him being a “hub” of the team to maximize his abilities.

Pelinka said the Lakers will honor LeBron James’ process and the looming June 29 deadline to opt into his contract. 

Redick, who shared a podcast with James last season, shed some light on his vision for James in the final stages of his career.

“With LeBron, you have to certainly get buy-in and talk to him about how he wants to play,” Redick said. “We’ve joked about this. He shot over 40% from three this year. We want him shooting threes.” –

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