Los Angeles Lakers officially introduce JJ Redick as new head coach

JJ Redick was introduced today as the Lakers new coach, quipping about his well-documented lack of prior coaching experience but insisting he is committed to being a teacher of players and delivering “a championship-caliber team.”

Redick’s only coaching experience is with his son’s youth team.

“I have never coached in the NBA before. I don’t know if you guys have heard that,” Redick joked after he was introduced by Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka at the team’s El Segundo training facility, drawing chuckles from some of the gathered media. “My motivations for doing this, it starts with a very simple foundation of service. I think about the greatest moments, especially towards the end of my career, was about helping players, and so it starts with the desire to serve players, to serve the Lakers organization, to serve our fans.”

“It’s also about competition and performance. Collaboration. Leadership. These are the things that drive me and they will all be important as I build out my staff.”

ESPN reported Thursday that the team signed Redick to a four-year contract, following meetings with owner Jeanie Buss and Pelinka.

Pelinka said that after meeting with Redick, “it was very evident that he had a unique perspective and philosophy on basketball and how it’s to be taught.”

“… We shared a basketball philosophy that was very similar, and it was based on high-level strategy,” Pelinka said. “It was based on a certain way of communicating with players and teaching them, and probably most importantly, prioritizing player development.”

“… It became evident that one of JJ’s passions was bring some of the incredible things he’s done in basketball thinking and in basketball content to player development. … It think that’s going to be something that’s really exciting for our fans to see — how we take a new and unique approach of Lakers excellence with player development and combining that with high-level strategy and high-level attention to detail on the basketball court with how we play, with how we’re organized, how we compete and ultimately how we win.”

Redick said he understands the expectations that come with the job, saying the Lakers “have some of the most passionate fans around the world.”

“And the expectation is a championship, and so it’s my job, it’s our staff’s job, it’s Rob’s job, it’s all of us to deliver a championship caliber team. That’s what I signed up for,” he said.

Following a 15-season NBA playing career with six teams, including the Clippers, Redick became an analyst with ESPN in 2021 and was promoted to its lead team in February after the departure of Doc Rivers to become the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Redick was a pioneer of podcasting. In 2016, he became the second active player with a podcast, following NFL linebacker A.J. Hawk. Since March, he has hosted “Mind the Game” with Laker star LeBron James.

Redick was thought to be the front-runner from the start of the search to find a successor to Darvin Ham, who was fired May 3, four days after the Lakers’ season ended when they lost to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

The Lakers then offered the job to University of Connecticut coach Dan Hurley, who turned down what was widely reported to be a six-year, $70 million contract.

Redick becomes the Lakers’ seventh permanent coach since Phil Jackson’s retirement following the 2010-11 season — Bernie Bickerstaff served a five-game stint as interim coach during the 2012-13 season — and fourth since James signed with the team in 2018.

“‘I’m cautiously optimistic that this new hire is a success for both the Lakers and JJ Redick,” Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson posted on social media Thursday. “I enjoyed watching him as a player — great 3 point shooting, high basketball IQ, passion for the game, and mental and physical toughness.

“If he can bring how he played professionally to the Lakers — this could work out! But will his transition from star basketball player to head coach end up like Steve Kerr, Jason Kidd, Ty Lue, or Doc Rivers or the former NBA players turned coaches who weren’t successful?”

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