Dan Hurley’s decision to spurn a reported six-year, $70 million contract offer from the Los Angeles Lakers and return to the University of Connecticut was one of the biggest wins in program history.

No, it is not a seventh national title, but the city of Storrs celebrated it like one. After all, Hurley’s return means that UConn has a chance to be the first men’s basketball program to three-peat since John Wooden’s legendary UCLA dynasty in the 1960s and 1970s.

But it also points to a shakiness within the Lakers’ own building in what shapes up to be a pivotal season for the franchise — and potentially LeBron James‘ final one before retirement. If the Lakers wanted a “program-builder” type of coach to build around Anthony Davis in the post-James era, why did they offer a contract that would have barely ranked in the top five of current NBA head coach salaries?

“If [Lakers general manager/vice president] Rob Pelinka were actually held to account by his boss — which I don’t actually think happens with the Lakers — what is his ‘Hey boss, here’s what happened’?” Nick Wright said on Monday’s edition of “First Things First,” roughly 90 minutes after FOX Sports confirmed the news of Hurley’s decision.

“Is it either ‘we very publicly went after a guy that all along we knew we were gonna lowball,’ or is it, ‘Boss, it went just the way he had planned. The whole world thinks now we tried really hard to get a guy, we knew we could never get him, and now we’re just gonna hire the cheap coach we were always gonna hire.'”

To Wright’s point, the Lakers’ late owner Jerry Buss once famously made a five-year, $40 million offer to legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in 2004 that would have made the then-three-time NCAA men’s basketball champion the highest-paid coach in the NBA.

[Fanta: Why Dan Hurley chose to stay at UConn, and what’s next for Huskies’ head coach]

The offer reportedly made to Hurley by Pelinka and current owner Jeanie Buss, Jerry’s daughter, would have made Hurley the fourth-highest-paid coach in the NBA, with the $11.67 million he would reportedly earn per year much less than the $17.5 million per year Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr currently makes. 

In fact, Hurley would have been just the fifth-highest-paid coach in the NBA per year behind Kerr, the San Antonio Spurs‘ Gregg Popovich, Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat and Monty Williams of the Detroit Pistons.

“You can’t come to the table saying ‘hey, you’ll be fifth in the league,'” Wright said. “I don’t think they had to make him first. But there is a Monty Williams bar to clear, there just is. Here is the problem with the Lakers. … Either all along, you didn’t expect to get this guy, and it was all a ruse for PR, or you really thought you were getting him, and you couldn’t get him.

“I just think they’re poorly run.”

Dan Hurley declines Lakers six-year, $70M offer & will return to UConn

Wright’s “First Things First” co-host Chris Broussard agreed, saying that the rumors of the Lakers preparing to make Hurley a deal he could not refuse to pry him away from the program he just led to back-to-back national championships did not mesh with the offer ultimately reported by ESPN on Monday.

“You’re the Lakers, this is the two-time national champion,” an incredulous Broussard said Monday. “And they’re looking at [Celtics general manager/former head coach] Brad Stevens, and what he’s built in Boston, and Oklahoma City building a franchise. That’s what they wanted. Then make him an offer he can’t refuse. 

“They offered [Krzyzewski] $8 million in 2004, 20 years ago. $8 million 20 years ago is a lot more than $11.6 million today. … It’s the same family. You could’ve justified it — I’m not saying Hurley is ‘Coach K,’ but he’s about the closest thing right now.”

However, “The Herd” co-host Colin Cowherd believes the realities of how the NBA is constructed may have also factored into Hurley’s decision, as he believes Hurley may have had an uphill battle to find success with the Lakers no matter how much they would have paid him.

Dan Hurley turns down Lakers job, Will remain at UConn

“Don’t confuse big brand with great job,” Cowherd said. “The NBA isn’t the NFL. It’s not [Major League] Baseball where you can just buy as much as you want. It’s not football where you can trade almost anybody you want. You’ve got a salary cap, and you have to have matching salaries to trade it. They don’t have a lot of draft capital. 

“Also — and I don’t think this can be underscored — LeBron is a lot. In LeBron’s prime, you would put up with anything. He got you to the Finals. [Now] he gets you to the play-in game in the West, and by the way the West’s young players — [Nikola] Jokic is getting better, [Anthony Edwards] is getting better, Luka [Doncic] is getting better. … This is not college sports where a Jim Harbaugh or a Steve Sarkisian or a Kirby Smart can walk into Georgia and get 25 first-round picks every year. The Lakers don’t have two of their next four first-round picks.”

And now, the Lakers will not have Dan Hurley leading them into the next chapter of their storied history.

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