Dan Hurley [1296x729]
Dan Hurley [1296x729] (Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Super Eagles suffer damaging World Cup qualifying blow vs Benin

Dan Hurley has turned down the Los Angeles Lakers' six-year, $70 million offer and will return to chase a third straight national title at UConn, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Lakers would have made Hurley one of the NBA's six highest-paid coaches. But before opening talks with the Lakers, Hurley already had an offer from UConn to become one of the highest-paid NCAA coaches, and those talks will continue, sources told Wojnarowski.

Hurley signed a six-year, $32.1 million deal with UConn after the 2022-23 season. He had the option of taking over one of the most famed franchises in pro sports and a potential chance to coach NBA all-time scoring leader LeBron James.

But Hurley ultimately chose to stay at UConn, which has gone 68-11 over the past two title-winning seasons and will try to become the second program to win three straight men's national titles. UCLA, the only men's program to do better than going back-to-back, won seven NCAA championships in a row from 1967 through 1973.

Hurley told Wojnarowski on Sunday that the Lakers made a "compelling case" and presented a "compelling vision" for him to become their next coach but that he loves what he has built with the two-time defending national champion Huskies.

Hurley also told Wojnarowski that he left "extremely impressed" with Lakers VP and GM Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss and had spent Sunday weighing their offer.

After a dogged pursuit of Hurley over the past weeks, the Lakers will regroup and resume bringing in candidates for interviews with hope of hiring a coach by the NBA draft later this month, sources told Wojnarowski.

New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego is expected to remain part of the group of Los Angeles' candidates, and the Lakers could conduct their first formal interview with JJ Redick, who also has been linked to the job.

The Lakers' failed pursuit of Hurley came 20 years after they similarly tried to hire Duke's Mike Krzyzewski to a record-breaking contract in 2004. Krzyzewski ultimately elected to remain at Duke.

After historically dominant back-to-back national title seasons, Hurley has emerged as the most coveted coach in the sport after constructing a juggernaut that lapped college basketball -- culminating in 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 possibility of UConn winning a third straight title is present with the return of a preseason top-5 team, but the Huskies did lose two probable lottery picks (center Donovan Clingan and guard Stephon Castle) and a first-team All-America point guard (Tristen Newton) to the NBA draft.

Hurley is 141-58 in his six seasons at UConn and 292-163 overall in 14 seasons as a collegiate coach -- adding in his years at Wagner and Rhode Island. He's gone through four losing seasons in that span; his first year at Wagner, his first two at Rhode Island and his first year at UConn.

The Lakers fired 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.