jj redick
manymindthegamepod / YouTube

JJ Redick is turning in his headset for a clipboard, as he’s reportedly joining the Los Angeles Lakers as their new head coach. He agreed to a four-year deal with the team after GM Rob Pelinka offered him the job, according to ESPN. Redick has never been a coach in the NBA, but the 39-year-old played 15 seasons with six different teams from 2006 to 2021. Redick, who had been working with ESPN as an NBA analyst, including for the network’s NBA Finals broadcast, reportedly sold Pelinka on his ability to “connect with players and his basketball IQ.”

ESPN reported, “Pelinka believes surrounding him with an elite coaching staff will help to shorten the learning curve into his first coaching job.” While Redick was a name that was brought up as a clear candidate for the vacancy after the dismissal of Darvin Ham after two seasons, he wasn’t the first choice. The Lakers tried to lure Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley out of college basketball, but he turned down a lucrative six-year deal from the Lakers to remain in place after winning back-to-back national titles. Hurley later said he had already agreed to terms on a new deal with UConn before he declined Los Angeles’ offer sheet.

“One of the worst takes I’ve heard is that this is a leverage play by me to improve my situation at UConn,” the Huskies coach said during a recent appearance on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.” Redick recently had a formal interview with the Lakers, and that meeting was clearly all the front office needed to have to believe that, despite his lack of coaching experience, he can lead this team next season. And while Redick can certainly connect with every player on the roster, there’s one in particular that he already has strong chemistry with: LeBron James.

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer and Redick co-host a podcast together, “Mind the Game,” where they dive deep into the technicalities of basketball, using their own experiences on the court to give a vast X’s and O’s perspective on NBA play.  It’s on that podcast where NBA fans have seen Redick’s basketball IQ come to life, as well as his broadcasting for ESPN this past season.  It’s unknown what coaching veterans Pelinka and the Lakers expect to bring in to build out Redick’s first staff, but they’re confident in giving him a shot to prove he can be a successful first-time head coach.

Redick, a first-round pick out of Duke by the Orlando Magic in the 2006 NBA Draft, averaged 12.8 points per game over his 15 seasons. He was an impressive sharpshooter, averaging 41.5 percent from beyond the arc in his career and 44.7 percent overall from the field.

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