Former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski reportedly advising Lakers’ coaching search

As the Los Angeles Lakers embark on yet another high-profile coaching search — their fourth in eight years — one former high-profile candidate for the job is advising owner Jeanie Buss and the rest of team’s front office in the decision, according to a new report from The Athletic. That would be Hall of Fame former Duke head coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski.

Krzyzewski, who Buss’s late father Jerry Buss famously attempted to lure from Duke to the Lakers nearly 20 years ago, “has become a respected unofficial resource” for the Lakers due to his “deep knowledge” of several top coaching candidates, including former Blue Devils star J.J. Redick, The Athletic reported. Krzyzewski retired from coaching in 2022, ending a 42-year run at Duke that included five NCAA men’s basketball national titles.

Skip explains why he wants JJ Redick to coach the Lakers

Redick, a current NBA television analyst and longtime podcast host who retired after a 15-year NBA playing career in 2021, has been constantly linked to the Lakers’ job opening since the team fired Darvin Ham after its first-round playoff elimination at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. Notably, Redick recently started a deep-dive basketball podcast, “Mind The Game,” with Lakers superstar LeBron James.

The 39-year-old Redick has publicly expressed an interest in joining an NBA team in a coaching capacity, and is reportedly “slightly ahead of the field” of current Lakers coach candidates, an advantage that could grow with the influence of Krzyzewski, his college coach at Duke. Redick has no coaching experience beyond his sons’ youth basketball teams. However, he has reportedly interviewed for multiple other NBA head coach roles over the past two seasons.

But longtime NBA assistant coach Sam Cassell, who currently works for the Boston Celtics, is also a leading candidate for the job, according to The Athletic. So is James Borrego, the former Charlotte Hornets head coach who also spent several years as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs and is currently the New Orleans Pelicans’ associate head coach.

Borrego and Cassell are currently co-favorites on betting markets to be the next Lakers head coach at +300. Redick has the next-shortest odds at +340.

[Related: Los Angeles Lakers next head coach odds: Borrego, Cassell, Redick favorites]

Other coaches connected to the Lakers include current LA Clippers coach Tyronn Lue, current Golden State Warriors assistant and former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, Nuggets assistant coach Chris Adelman, Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Micah Nori and Miami Heat assistant coach Chris Quinn. Celtics assistant coach Charles Lee and former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer were also seen as candidates for the Lakers job before accepting head coaching roles with the Hornets and Phoenix Suns, respectively, in recent days.

The Lakers are aiming for a deep playoff run after only making the Western Conference Finals twice in James’ and Anthony Davis’s five seasons together in L.A., including their 2020 championship in the pandemic-delayed “NBA Bubble” playoffs. James, who is the same age as Redick, has a player option on his contract for next season and has not yet committed to returning to the Lakers for his 22nd NBA season. His son Bronny James, who LeBron has repeatedly expressed a desire to play alongside in the NBA, is reportedly set to enter the 2024 NBA Draft after being medically cleared to do so on Monday.

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