By Tommy Matthews

ESPN is reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing a massive, long-term contract offer to bring UCONN’s back-to-back NCAA national champion Dan Hurley to the NBA.

The Lakers have had preliminary contact with Hurley and the sides are planning to escalate discussions in the coming days, sources told ESPN.

Hurley has been at the forefront of the Lakers’ search from the beginning of the process, even while the organization has done its due diligence interviewing several other candidates, sources said.

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and governor Jeanie Buss are eager to formally discuss with Hurley their vision of marrying his dominant program — built upon both his tactical acumen and elite player development — with the storied Lakers brand, sources said.

Hurley, 51, has often described his ambition to one day coach in the NBA and has expressed to the Lakers a desire to explore the full picture of a partnership with one of basketball’s winningest franchises, sources said.

After historically dominant back-to-back national title seasons, Hurley has emerged as the most coveted coach in the sport — and the possibility of him leaving UConn and the Big East Conference for the Lakers has massive implications for both college basketball and the NBA. Hurley has constructed a juggernaut that has lapped the sport — culminating with the NCAA’s first repeat champion in 17 years and a tournament performance that produced the biggest point differential in tournament history: 140 points.

The Lakers dismissed coach Darvin Ham after a first-round exit in the Western Conference playoffs. Ham was 94-70 in two seasons — including a trip to the Western Conference finals in 2023.

Hurley is 141-58 (.709) in six seasons as the UConn coach — and holds an NCAA tournament record of 12 consecutive double-digit victories. A son of Naismith Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. — for whom Hurley played for at famed St. Anthony High School of Jersey City, New Jersey — Dan Hurley spent nine years as a high school coach at St. Benedict’s Prep before rapidly rebuilding college programs at Wagner and Rhode Island. His older brother, Bobby, is the head coach at Arizona State.

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