Rob Pelinka says new Lakers coach JJ Redick has 'very unique' qualities

JJ Redick raised his voice, trophies glistening in an office window above his head, the banners still in the Lakers’ rafters.

There had been other opportunities for Redick to pursue post-retirement basketball life. He’d been podcasting and broadcasting. Last summer, he interviewed for a coaching job in Toronto. Earlier this offseason, he was a candidate in Charlotte.

After 15 years as an NBA player and three as a broadcaster, the future had finally truly presented itself.

“I've got to do some amazing stuff in my life. Right?” Redick said. “This might be the best. When I think about this job in particular, it's not just about getting the job. … What, what I wanted to do was do the job. I wanted to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.”

Redick shared his passion and vision for the future of his new employer Monday, one in which he’ll probably be tasked with maximizing the Lakers’ immediate future while preparing them to adapt in real time with the changing NBA.

“We really had in mind, concepts around innovation and challenging ourselves to be forward thinking,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said of the coaching search. “I think in industry in general and in sports in specific, sometimes it's easy to get caught up in patterns, Being in … a sea of sameness and doing the same thing that everybody else is doing.

JJ Redick talks to reporters Monday after he was introduced as the Lakers' new head coach at the team's training facility.
JJ Redick talks to reporters Monday after he was introduced as the Lakers' new head coach at the team's training facility in El Segundo. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“But when we embarked on this search, it was really important for us to see if we could do something a little bit different.”

Redick has never coached in the NBA — “I don't know if you guys have heard that,” he quipped — but Pelinka said his experience as a player and broadcaster have given him enough “NBA experience” to handle the challenges ahead.

“It was just really important to us as we made this hire to find a head coach that could sit across the table from some of the smartest and best players in the world,” Pelinka said. “This is the stage for those players to be able to relate to, coach, hold them accountable, lead them, inspire them. And we felt like JJ was very unique in holding all those qualities to do that.”

The Lakers have not announced any members of Redick’s staff, with Redick saying he’d be very involved with the Lakers’ summer league team, including possibly coaching the team in Las Vegas.

Redick, who had co-hosted a podcast with LeBron James, said he won’t continue his podcasts now that he’s a head coach. He said he didn’t talk to James about the job until after he’d received the offer from the Lakers.

“That was very intentional on both our parts. I knew I had an understanding that he did not want to be involved in this,” Redick said. “And 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. For us, it just came down to literally Thursday afternoon. And I talked to him for about 15-20 minutes and got off the phone. That was it.”

Redick said he has some preliminary plans for how he’d like to maximize Anthony Davis, James and the rest of the players on the current roster.

“I’m going to use math,” Redick said with a grin.

Read more: Hernández: Lakers' hiring of JJ Redick as coach is really out of the box

Redick said he’d like to increase the Lakers’ three-point volume, create more possessions with offensive rebounds and add two-way talent to the roster.

“I can have a vision, how I want to use them, but there has to be buy in and collaboration, right?” Redick said. “So I can sit up here and tell you how I would like for them to play, but if there's no buy in then it doesn't really matter. … Part of the next two months is just having conversations.”

Pelinka declined to speak directly about the Lakers’ pursuit of Connecticut coach Dan Hurley during the search, but Redick said he understood.

“I was getting ready to call Game 1 of the NBA Finals when the Dan Hurley news broke. And, Rob was quick to call me. We had a great conversation. During that whole four-day period, like, 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. Like, I understood, you know? I understood.”

And he understands what’s at stake now that he has the job.

“I just want to say sitting in this seat, I know what the expectations are. Lakers fans have some of the most passionate fans around the world,” Redick said. “And the expectation is a championship. And so it's, 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.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.