National Basketball Association
LeBron James contacted Dan Hurley during Lakers' courtship of UConn coach
National Basketball Association

LeBron James contacted Dan Hurley during Lakers' courtship of UConn coach

Updated Jun. 13, 2024 2:31 p.m. ET

Dan Hurley won't be coaching the Los Angeles Lakers, but he found himself having to turn down their offer after receiving a pitch from their top star.

LeBron James reached out to Hurley during the Lakers' courtship of the UConn head coach, Hurley shared on "The Herd."

"We had some text messages," Hurley said Thursday of his dialogue with James. "An incredible message over the weekend, just talking about basketball and some different things; letting me know that if he was there in L.A., that I'd have his support. Just thinking about that, that blew my mind. Then, we got into a text exchange."

Even after Hurley rejected the Lakers' reported six-year, $70 million offer to remain at UConn on Monday, James remained in contact with the two-time national championship-winning coach. 


"The exchange went even through to when I chose to go in another direction," Hurley shared. "It blew my mind when you get a text message from LeBron James."

While Hurley's decision to remain at UConn still leaves the Lakers without a head coach, James' choice to get involved in the situation could be a positive development for Los Angeles. James can opt out of his contract at the end of June, which he's reportedly expected to exercise to become a free agent.

With James possibly signaling that he's returning to Los Angeles for the 2024-25 season, Hurley said that the opportunity to coach him was a major reason why he considered taking the Lakers' gig.

"The pull was the opportunity," Hurley said. "The Lakers, not necessarily L.A., but coaching the Lakers, coaching LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Coaching LeBron, the opportunity to coach one of the greatest players of all time, what that would look like and the challenge of doing that, how hard you would have to work, the level of expertise, the relationship-building that you would have to bring to that position to make it work with one of the smartest players and the greatest players made it something that was drawing me to the job, not away from the job."

Dan Hurley reveals text messages with LeBron while being courted by Lakers

James and Davis weren't the only reasons why Hurley said he strongly considered taking the Lakers' job, though. He said he was "blown away" meeting Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and other members of her staff. He also said he's gotten a chance to know Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka over the last couple of years, saying that he and Los Angeles have been interested in drafting some of his players, like Jordan Hawkins

"I've just been super impressed with him," Hurley said of Pelinka. 

It was first reported on June 6 that Hurley had emerged as a top candidate for the role before flying out to Los Angeles on Friday to have a formal interview with Lakers brass. He shared that his discussions with the Lakers started to "heat up" a few days prior.

While Hurley seemingly became a candidate for the Lakers' gig out of nowhere, he stressed that his decision to interview for the job wasn't a leverage play.

"I was really excited about the job," Hurley said. "For us, right now, we've started practice with our current team that's going to go for potentially a three-peat. We're also heating up in a really critical time for recruiting the rising seniors in high school. So, this was not a great time to mess around or go for a ‘leverage play.' I already had the leverage: back-to-back national championships and the way that we're doing it — putting players in the NBA, our culture, the way we play ball — that's my leverage.

"The opportunity to coach one of the biggest brands in all of the sports landscape in the entire world, for somebody that loves basketball, is something that I owed it to myself and my family to consider."

Dan Hurley on his decision to return to UConn: 'I already had the leverage'

Following a brief rush of considering coaching at the next level, Hurley is back to what his life has been since March 2018, when he took the UConn job. He's already back to coaching practices and hitting the road for recruiting trips as he looks to make history after winning back-to-back titles.

"For me, in the end, the impact that you can have on 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds, the fulfillment that you get from being a part of the last group of people that could maybe change the lives of young people and the opportunity to come back to a place to do something that hasn't been done since John Wooden and those great UCLA teams," Hurley said on why he decided to remain at UConn. "The chance to go for history and what you mean to the state of Connecticut and UConn as a whole. Then, all the family considerations as well. 

"There were too many things that kept me here."

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