JJ Redick is set to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to multiple reports.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the news on Thursday afternoon. Redick, who has never coached at the professional level before, will now be tasked with leading a core in Los Angeles that is headlined by LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Since retiring from the NBA after the 2021 season, Redick has mostly focused on growing his media career. He’s hosted multiple successful podcasts, including one with James in recent months, and has been a regular contributor to some of ESPN’s daily sports talk shows. Redick also ascended to ESPN’s top broadcast team where he covered the 2024 NBA Finals alongside Mike Breen and Doris Burke.

None of that qualifies him to be a NBA head coach, but it’s a path we’ve seen other former players take en route to a head coaching job. Arguably the most successful example would be Steve Kerr, who had multiple stints as a TNT broadcaster before becoming a title-winning head coach in Golden State.

Hiring Redick is certainly a risk for the Lakers, whose current championship window is closing quickly — if it hasn’t already been slammed shut. James will play his 22nd NBA season in 2024-25 and his production is already unprecedented for a player with that much longevity in the league. Davis, another aging star, is one of the best defensive players in the league but has been a very poor 3-point shooter since the Lakers’ 2020 championship.

The rest of the Lakers’ core ranges from average to uninspiring. Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura are all flawed players who have been involved in trade rumors this offseason. The Lakers are projected to be well over the salary cap (especially with James set to sign a new deal this summer), which further limits their flexibility in improving the roster. To make matters worse, they’re also lacking in tradeable first-round picks.

Don’t take my word for it — the Lakers are currently +4000 to win the 2025 Finals, which ranks 13th on FanDuel. If the goal is to win the championship — as it always is with James on your roster — then the Lakers aren’t anywhere close to the list of the league’s top contenders.

With the picture that bleak, what do the Lakers have to lose? Maybe Redick will bring some fresh ideas to Los Angeles and reinvigorate the organization after a frustrating season. Redick clearly has a passion for the Xs and Os of basketball — something that was clearly demonstrated in both his playing days and, more explicitly, in his media career to this point.

And if his fresh ideas don’t take, the downside isn’t that bad — the Lakers were likely doomed anyways. The West is loaded with contenders who are younger and have more flexible cap sheets. Dallas, Minnesota, Denver, Oklahoma City and Memphis all figure to be ahead of the Lakers in the West standings next season, regardless of who is coaching the Lakers.

At least by hiring Redick, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka (who took an unconventional route to his role as well, it should be noted) is at least introducing some variance into the equation. It’s an admirable attempt to squeeze the last bit of competitive basketball out of the James-Davis tandem.

And it’s not like Pelinka was batting away successful NBA head coaches who wanted to apply for this job (being James’ coach has never been good for longterm job security). After making a run at Dan Hurley, the Lakers seemed to be choosing between Redick and James Borrego — a well-respected coach, sure, but also one that has a .447 winning percentage in 4+ seasons as a head coach.

The Lakers job will be a high-pressure environment for Redick to step into, but he’s thrived in those situations in the past. He went from one of the most memorable (and most0hated) Duke players of all-time to a successful, 15-year NBA career. And then as soon as that was over, Redick became one of ESPN’s top basketball voices seemingly overnight.

Maybe coaching will prove to be more difficult for Redick — as it did for Steve Nash, who took a similarly high-profile head coaching job with the Nets a few years ago without any prior coaching experience. Or maybe he takes to it like Kerr did, and the Lakers find themselves as pseudo-contenders in 2025.

For better or worse, the Lakers have a wider range of outcomes than they did before this hire — more upside (and downside) than they would have had with any other head coach on the market.

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