Dan Hurley pulled himself out of consideration for the Los Angeles Lakers‘ head coaching vacancy, but the team could turn to another two-time national championship head coach instead.

Jay Wright was viewed as a possible “stealth” candidate for the Lakers gig prior to Hurley turning the job down, longtime NBA insider Marc Stein reported on Sunday

While the mutual interest between Hurley and Lakers came as a bit of a shock, Wright’s possible candidacy for the Lakers job would also be a bit surprising. Like Hurley, Wright has never coached in the NBA.

The 62-year-old Wright has also been out of the coaching game since 2022, when he stepped down from his post at Villanova after 21 seasons. Villanova was just four years removed from its second national title win under Wright and fresh off a Final Four appearance when he made his stunning decision to step away from the game. 

Now that two seasons have passed since Wright last manned the sideline, FOX Sports’ Craig Carton thinks that he might have that itch to return soon. 

“I think this guy will coach again at some point,” Carton said on Tuesday’s “Carton Show.” “Jay Wright’s doing a very good job on TV now. There’s an old adage about coaches: Coaches coach because it’s in their blood and at some point they’ve got to go back and coach again.”

Wright hasn’t been entirely away from the game since he stepped down from his job at Villanova. He’s worked as a broadcaster for CBS, calling games and working in the studio during March Madness.

The balance of being able to still work in basketball while not having to deal with the stresses of coaching on a day-to-day basis are why FOX Sports college basketball insider John Fanta and former NBA player Tim Hardaway believe Wright has coached his final game.

“I vehemently disagree that Jay Wright will ever coach again,” Fanta said. “Jay Wright loves life calling college basketball games. He loves life on the road, with our buddy Bill Raftery. He’s got it made in the booth. He genuinely enjoys it. If he still wanted to coach, he’d be at Villanova.”

“I was going to say the same thing,” Hardaway added. “He looks very comfortable in the booth. He loves what he’s doing. He loves talking about the game. He does a great job. He’s happy where he’s at. He doesn’t have to deal with the day-to-day [stuff] in college of, ‘I’ve got to get this guy to play, I’ve got to get that guy to play.’ He had it great at Villanova. Now, he’d have to go somewhere and get it started all over again.”

As Fanta and Hardaway insisted that Wright’s coaching career is likely over, Wright implied that whatever aspirations he had to coach in the NBA aren’t there anymore after he left Villanova in 2022.

“Not right now. That was something I always thought about,” Wright said in an interview with ESPN Radio when asked about coaching at the professional level. “My experience with the Olympics kind of scratched that itch. … I kind of feel like I did it a little bit. And I loved coaching those guys.”

If Wright changed his mind, he has some notable ties not too far away from Villanova. Former Wildcats stars Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo led the New York Knicks to the second round of the playoffs. Another Villanova star is right across the East River, with Mikal Bridges emerging as one of the league’s best two-way forwards with the Brooklyn Nets over the last couple of years.

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience

National Basketball Association

Los Angeles Lakers

Villanova Wildcats

Get more from National Basketball Association Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more

Source link