Dan Hurley has proven to be a special coach, but would his fit with the Lakers make sense?

The discussion of the next head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers hit a fervor with reports swirling earlier this week that the Lakers were zeroing in on current ESPN basketball analyst JJ Redick as their next head coach. On Thursday morning, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Lakers are preparing a lucrative, long-term offer for UConn head coach Dan Hurley, and Hurley is now willing to meet with the team.

"He is the target of their search," Wojnarowski said. "He's been the target for the Lakers' search since the beginning. Both sides have had preliminary contact and those conversations are expected to escalate in the coming days."

Hurley led the UConn Huskies to back-to-back NCAA titles after defeating Purdue in the championship game this year, the first repeat since the Florida Gators in 2006-07 and 2007-08. He and his staff have completely revived the program and have now made it a top destination for not only five-star high school recruits but top transfers in the portal. In six seasons at UConn, Hurley is 141-58.

"We practice 11 months out of the year, and Coach Hurley pushed us to our max every single day," projected NBA Draft lottery pick Donovan Clingan told Yahoo Sports last month. "The coaching staff got everything out of us and put us in the best position possible to be successful and succeed at a high level."

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - MAY 6: University of Connecticut Men's Basketball Head Coach, Dan Hurley in attendance during Monday Night RAW at XL Center on May 6, 2024 in Hartford, Connecticut.  (Photo by WWE/Getty Images)
Yes, Dan Hurley has won two consecutive national championships with UConn. (Photo by WWE/Getty Images) (WWE via Getty Images)

Cam Spencer, a projected second-round pick in this month's NBA Draft, transferred to UConn from Rutgers for his senior year and didn't hold back when asked why he chose Hurley and his program.

“There’s definitely no ass-kissing in the recruiting process, and that was my favorite part about it," Spencer told reporters during a media session at the Final Four. "They’re going to hold you accountable, they’re going to tell you the truth about your strengths and weaknesses and where they see you fit in the program. I think that’s one of the most special things about UConn, especially nowadays when kids want to hear all the things they’re doing well, and the reality is you probably suck and need to get better in a lot of areas. That’s the one thing I appreciate about Coach Hurley and our whole staff and just how honest they are with us as players.”

The Huskies have a top-10 recruiting class coming in this fall led by five-star wing Liam McNeeley and four-stars Isaiah Abraham and Ahmad Nowell. The most notable win was getting Alex Karaban to return for his junior year. The 6-foot-8 wing was one of the best players at the NBA Draft Combine last month, leading all players in the 3-point star drill, finishing 21-of-25. Karaban followed that up with two solid days of scrimmages where he made good reads offensively and guarded the perimeter well. Many thought he would stay in this draft class with multiple teams interested in him as an early second-round pick, but he announced he would go back to Storrs for another year right before the withdrawal deadline on May 29.

To leave with solid talent coming in and one of the team's best players returning for a chance at a three-peat would be extremely hard to walk away from.

Hurley has voiced his frustration with the college landscape, particularly the transfer portal that has over 1,000 players electing to transfer each year since the rule change in 2021. During his media availability prior to the national championship game against Purdue, Hurley was asked about motivation for his team when it has a huge target on its back, and he bluntly cited the pains of the transfer portal.

"My biggest motivation for the last two to three weeks is that I don’t want to deal with the portal s***,” Hurley said. “I can hide behind the fact that my season is still going on.”

Hurley has been the biggest name in college coaching after his historic run at UConn and the way he's not only built championship teams, but also had success developing players for the NBA Draft. This year UConn has two projected lottery picks in Clingan and Stephon Castle, while Spencer and Tristen Newton could be drafted in the second round.

Immediately following John Calipari's departure to Arkansas, Hurley became the top name to take over at Kentucky. He shut down any chance of that happening after the title game, telling reporters with a laugh, "I don't think that's a concern. You know my wife, you should have her answer that."

Two months later and his name is now in the mix for the hottest job in the NBA. The league is significantly different than college and especially the Lakers job with LeBron James and all the different personalities and egos in the locker room.

If Hurley agrees to become the next head coach of the Lakers on a long-term deal, he would be the future for vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka and governor Jeanie Buss, who would be looking further ahead than just the next two seasons.

LeBron has said he doesn't have many years left. His son, Bronny, could be a second-round target for the Lakers in this month's draft. LeBron has said repeatedly that he wants to end his career sharing the court with his son. A rebuild for the Lakers could be two short years away and there's no coach who has been more successful in rebuilding a program and winning at the highest level in college than Hurley. He could very well bring the same success to the Lakers when the time comes.

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