New Lakers coach JJ Redick talks LeBron James, Dan Hurley, lack of experience: 'I want to win championships'

It's official.

JJ Redick is the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The former NBA sharpshooter with no coaching experience beyond the youth level was introduced as the sideline leader for one of the most storied franchises in all of sports on Monday.

Flanked by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, Redick met with media on his 40th birthday for the first time since he agreed on Thursday to a reported four-year contract with the team. He acknowledged the obvious in his opening statement.

"I have never coached in the NBA before," Redick said. "I don't know if you guys have heard that."

For the better part of the next hour, Redick and Pelinka discussed what went into the unorthodox hire and touched on topics including the franchise's failed dalliance with UConn coach Dan Hurley and just how involved LeBron James was in the hiring process (hint: not very much).

Before they met with media, Pelinka cited Redick's "extraordinary basketball IQ" and "rigorous analysis" in a statement announcing him as head coach. It's a theme that played out throughout Monday's news conference. Pelinka repeatedly praised Redick as a strategist alongside his approach to the game of basketball from a modern analytical perspective.

"Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in patterns of being in a sea of sameness and doing the same thing that everybody else is doing,” Pelinka said. "When we embarked on this search, it was really important for us to see if we could do something a little different.

"Quickly in our conversations with JJ, it was very evident that he had a unique perspective and philosophy on basketball and how it's to be taught."

JJ Redick speaks after being introduced as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team Monday, June 24, 2024, in El Segundo, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
JJ Redick speaks after being introduced as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, June 24, 2024, in El Segundo, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Redick echoed those sentiments while emphasizing player development, adaptability to the ever-evolving game and instilling a culture of competition as core tenets of his coaching philosophy. He also acknowledged the expectations he's stepping into with a roster featuring a pair of All-NBA caliber players in the event the Lakers retain potential pending-free agent LeBron James alongside Anthony Davis.

"If the Los Angeles Lakers on Day 1 get better every single day, I’m very confident that come April, we will be a championship-caliber team," Redick said. "You still have to have a lot of stuff go right, and you can’t have a lot go wrong. That’s every single championship team. Just acknowledge that."

James is widely expected to exercise an opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent. Whether he re-signs with the Lakers or departs for another team is the most-anticipated decision of the NBA offseason. Redick and James are friends and have co-hosted a podcast together. That relationship has fueled speculation that James was directly involved in the decision to hire Redick.

Per Pelinka, that wasn't the case. And that was James' decision.

"He was very supportive of our organization in this process," Pelinka said. "That’s a different word — and I want to be mindful of the word — than involved. LeBron was very supportive of us in our process but chose not to be heavily involved, and we respected that."

Redick said that he and James actively avoided discussing the situation until the Lakers offered him the job last week.

"He didn’t provide any advice," Redick said of James. "LeBron and I did not talk about the Lakers job until Thursday afternoon about 30 minutes after I was offered the job. That was very intentional on both our parts.

"I knew — I had an understanding that he did not want to be involved in this. For me I didn’t want to go down the path of hypotheticals with someone that I consider a friend and someone that I have a great amount of respect for."

Per Pelinka, Davis — who's signed through the 2027-28 season — "chose to be very involved" in the hiring process and "was very excited for today." He also noted that the franchise will "respect" James as he goes through his decision-making process and echoed Redick's championship-level expectations if James remains with the Lakers alongside Davis.

"If those two players are at the core of what we’re doing, we like our chances," Pelinka said.

Redick and Pelinka each addressed the elephant in the room. While Redick was a top target in the Lakers' coaching search all along, he very publicly wasn't the No. 1 choice.

Two-time NCAA champion Dan Hurley reportedly turned town a six-year, $70 million offer from the Lakers earlier in June to remain at UConn. Ten days later, Redick accepted the job. Per Redick and Pelinka, there's no lingering ill-will.

Pelinka said that he and Redick were in "constant communication" throughout the process as it involved Hurley. Redick concurred and expressed a matter-of-fact understanding of the process.

"When the process was going on and we first met in Chicago, I was getting ready to call Game 1 of the NBA Finals when the Dan Hurley news broke," Redick said. "Rob was quick to call me. We had a great conversation. During that whole four-day period, at no point was my ego or feelings hurt or bruised in any way.

"Dan Hurley is a two-time national champion at UConn. I am a two-time 55 Swish League champion in the third- and fourth-grade division. I understood."

The decision in Los Angeles to hire Redick is one that comes with intense scrutiny amid high stakes. The Lakers are under pressure to retain James this offseason and return to title contention with James and Davis as their core.

Redick, meanwhile, moves directly to the sideline from the ESPN broadcast booth without having ever coached adult basketball players. He's a respected basketball analyst who surged to ESPN's top NBA broadcast team in his three seasons with the network. He was lauded as much for his basketball mind as his 3-point shot during a 15-year career as an NBA shooting specialist.

The Lakers are rolling the dice that the latter points in Redick's favor translate directly to head coaching success at a championship level. Redick is tuning out the noise and focused on the golden opportunity that sits before him.

“I really don’t give a f***," Redick said when asked if there were any misconceptions about himself that he'd like to dispel. "Honestly. I want to coach the Lakers. I want to coach the team. I don’t want to dispel anything.

"I want to become a great coach in the NBA. I want to win championships. I want my players to maximize their careers. That’s all I f***ing care about.”