Lakers could take a page out of Knicks' book with potential head coach candidate

The Villanova Lakers?
New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers
New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The Lakers are waiting for Dan Hurley to accept or decline their offer. The storied collegiate basketball coach could stay at UConn, where he's won back-to-back national titles. Or, he could begin his NBA journey with one of the league's top franchises.

Colin Cowherd suggested Hurley decline the offer and wait for the New York Knicks job to open, which won't happen soon. Tom Thibodeau is expected to sign an extension this summer after leading New York to the second round in consecutive seasons. The players love Thibs.

If Hurley doesn't take the job, JJ Redick could be the frontrunner. Before ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski swooped in and reported that LA wanted Hurley, Shams Charania reported Redick was the favorite. The Lakers have interviewed other candidates, such as James Borrego.

On Sunday, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that Jay Wright could be a "stealth candidate" (subscription required) to become LA's next head coach.

"(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.) The good news on this front if you're so inclined: That backstory is sure to surface sooner rather than later ... presumably soon after the Lakers do or don't land Hurley."

Marc Stein

Insider indicates there could be Lakers interest in Jay Wright

If the Lakers don't get Hurley, they may focus on Wright. He went 520-197 at Villanova and won two championships featuring Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo. Josh Hart was part of the 2016 title squad.

Wright is considered one of the best college basketball coaches of all time. Because LA is interested in Hurley, it would make sense for the organization to explore the possibility of hiring Wright. The 62-year-old currently serves as a studio and game analyst for CBS Sports.

The former Villanova coach has garnered interest from NBA teams before, including the Suns and Sixers. If he'd consider coming out of retirement, maybe LA will seriously consider him if Hurley doesn't take the job. Perhaps the Lakers have already reached out to Wright.

New York has had success signing/trading for former Villanova players. Brunson transformed into an All-Star/All-NBA player with the Knicks, DiVincenzo had a career season in 2023-24, and Hart was born to play in New York. When Thibodeau and the Knicks were in a rut at the start of the 2022-23 season, some fans even called for Wright to replace Thibs.

Maybe Wright is content with where he's at in his post-coaching career. He might consider leading LeBron James and the Lakers if he hasn't already. Or, maybe Hurley will take the job and end the speculation.