Dan Hurley says rejecting the Lakers' offer to stay at UConn wasn't a 'leverage play'

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Dan Hurley said in a radio appearance Thursday that his rejection of a six-year, $70 million offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t a “leverage play” because he had already agreed to new contract with UConn.

During an appearance on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” the Huskies coach said it was a difficult choice between leading the Lakers or returning to Storrs to pursue a third consecutive NCAA championship.

“I don’t need leverage here,” the coach said. “We’ve won back-to-back national championships at this place. This was never a leverage situation for me.

“I’ve got a contract in place here for a couple of weeks and the financial part in terms of salary has been done for a while. There’s some other parts, like NIL and staff salaries and some different things that I needed or that I want adjusted. … But the sense or the idea that this was some conspiracy to get me a sweeter deal at UConn is just, it’s lazy.”

Hurley was scheduled to speak with reporters later Thursday. Kentucky also pursued him for its coaching vacancy following the departure of Hall of Famer John Calipari for Arkansas after 15 years with the Wildcats.

Hurley added that it would have been a thrill to coach LeBron James with the Lakers, though he did not speak with James during last week’s interview process. He acknowledged that Los Angeles could have made him an offer that he couldn’t have refused but added that he has a deal in place at UConn that will make him the nation’s highest-paid college coach.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball