Their podcast is over. New Lakers coach JJ Redick still hopes to create great content with LeBron

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — JJ Redick says his extraordinary hiring as the Los Angeles Lakers' head coach means the end of his podcast with LeBron James.

Redick hopes they'll be able to produce much more compelling content next season in a new incarnation of their partnership, chasing a championship together with the Lakers.

The Lakers formally introduced Redick as their coach on Monday, which also happened to be the 15-year NBA veteran’s 40th birthday.

In a news conference with general manager Rob Pelinka at the Lakers’ training complex, Redick humorously embraced the unlikeliness of his extraordinary hire as he looked across a gym filled with team employees, media members and some of his new players.

“I have never coached in the NBA before,” Redick said with a straight face. “I don’t know if you guys have heard that.”

Redick's coaching experience is confined to volunteering with his sons' youth teams, but he plans to overcome that yawning gap with encyclopedic basketball knowledge, personal charisma, an experience-packed coaching staff and an eagerness to innovate.

“This process has been surreal, to say the least,” Redick said. “I take this responsibility very seriously.. ... The Lakers have some of the most passionate fans around the world, and the expectation is a championship, and so it’s my job to deliver a championship-caliber team. That’s what I signed up for.”

Redick also said he got this opportunity with no help or advice from James, who must decide this week whether to exercise his player option to return to the Lakers next season or to become a free agent.

Although Redick didn't break any news, he spoke extensively about the way he hopes to deploy James next season with the Lakers — including shooting more 3-pointers to capitalize on his high percentage.

Redick said he didn't speak with James at all about Los Angeles' lengthy coaching search until a 15-minute conversation after the Lakers offered the job to him last Thursday. But Redick has spoken extensively with fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis, who was more involved than James in the team's hiring process.

Redick and James won't be speaking on microphone together anytime soon, however: Redick acknowledges that he'll have to stop recording their podcast.

“For the time being — and hopefully it’s a very, very long time — I am excommunicated from the content space,” Redick said. "There will be no podcasts. We’ll do something when I have a breather from what I have coming up. I’m gonna be drinking from a firehose for the next month.”

The Lakers reached an agreement with Redick last week, about two weeks after UConn coach Dan Hurley turned down a lucrative offer to jump to the NBA from the back-to-back defending national champion Huskies. Neither Redick nor Hurley has ever coached in the NBA.

Redick said he met with Pelinka before the Lakers’ pursuit of Hurley, and he was on broadcast duty for ESPN while the saga played out.

“At no point was my ego or feelings hurt or bruised in any way,” Redick said. “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, you know?”

Redick played 15 NBA seasons for six teams as a productive shooting guard after a four-year career at Duke. He became the Blue Devils’ career scoring leader under Mike Krzyzewski.

After he retired in 2021, Redick embarked on a media career. In just the past several months, he started the “Mind the Game” podcast with James while also ascending to ESPN’s top commentary team, working the NBA Finals this month. Yet Redick realized last year that he wanted to be an NBA head coach after interviewing for the job in Toronto, and he has since spoken at length to top coaches about every aspect of their jobs.

Redick’s insightful podcast with James opened many eyes about Redick’s understanding of the game, and his name arose as a viable — albeit unorthodox — candidate to replace Darvin Ham, who had been fired May 3.

Ham was dismissed by Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss despite leading the Lakers to two winning seasons, the 2023 Western Conference finals and a victory in the inaugural In-Season Tournament. The Lakers lost to defending champion Denver in the first round of the postseason, and they won just one game in two playoff series against the Nuggets over the past two years.

“I think in industry in general and in sports in specific, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in patterns of being in a sea of sameness, and doing the same things 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 bit different.”

Lakers players including Spencer Dinwiddie, Christian Wood and Gabe Vincent attended the news conference.

Redick spoke optimistically about the Lakers' roster, saying championship expectations are “reasonable. I don’t look at the current roster as being that far off from being a championship-caliber team.”