‘I Don’t Need Leverage Here’: Danny Hurley Disputes Notion That He Used Lakers To Leverage More Money From UCONN

Late last week Connecticut Huskies head coach Danny Hurley was believed to be the next head coach of the now-dysfunctional Los Angeles Lakers. After meeting with the Lakers last Friday, Hurley opted to stay in Storrs and chase a three-peat. Despite the Lakers offering him a six-year, $70 million deal, Hurley decided to stay put and continue to chase history at the college level. 

Late Thursday reports said that Hurley and UConn officials were finalizing a six-year, $50 million extension for the 51-year-old sideline-stalker who’s led the Huskies to back-to-back national championships. The deal would make Hurley the third-highest paid coach in college basketball trailing only Kansas’ Bills Self and Arkansas first-year coach John Calipari. 

While, Hurley definitely deserves the raises which saw his salary increase from just over $5 million to better than $8 million, conspiracy theorists believe Hurley used the Lakers to leverage a bigger deal from UConn. 

Hurley Attempts To Quell Leverage Chatter

Following the Huskies’ title win in early April talks of a new deal began to circulate, but nothing seemed to materialize until the Lakers came calling. What’s wild is Hurley’s name was never mentioned in the coaching search until last week, and then things just took off. ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski even claimed that Hurley had been the team’s top choice all along. 

Speaking with the “Dan Le Batard Show” on Thursday, Hurley was his same candid self as he laid into those believing he leveraged the Lakers to expedite his negotiations with the Huskies. 

“To me that’s one of the dumbest takes I’ve heard,” Hurley said. “One of the worst takes I’ve heard is that this was a leverage play by me to improve my situation at UConn. I don’t need leverage here. We’ve won back-to-back national championships.”

“This was never a leverage situation for me. I’ve had a contract in place here at UConn for a couple of weeks, and financial terms as far as salary, have been done for a while,” he continued. “The idea that this was some conspiracy to get me a sweeter deal at UConn is lazy.” 

Hurley may be telling the truth, but nothing became set in stone until the Lakers attempted to pry him away. Hurley says the deciding factor for him was that his wife and family love it in Storrs, and it’s just a couple hours from New Jersey, where Hurley grew up.

Lakers Can Now Say At Least We Tried

Now, with Hurley out of the picture, the Lakers can now turn their focus to other candidates, like former NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick who’s slated to formally interview for the gig this weekend. It’s no secret that Redick’s name has been mentioned since the job became available following the firing of Darvin Ham following a 4-1 first-round playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets. 

In essence Redick has been interviewing for the job for weeks. Just watch an episode of the “Mind The Game” podcast with Redick and Lakers superstar LeBron James. Of all the people James could’ve chosen to do a podcast with, he chose Redick, and each show is about Redick putting his basketball acumen and IQ on full display. This is the hire that LeBron wants, and it’s highly plausible it’s what he gets. 

The bad part about this is there are so many other worthy assistants who’ve actually paid their dues that will get passed over for Redick, who’s never coached at any level prior to this. It’s not right, and everyone knows it. 

If I’m Anthony Davis I start asking when will we build for the future, which I am, and when will my feelings on the coach be heard. Because as of now Lakers brass is only worried about appeasing James and his slight window of playing time he has left. 

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