Lakers' $70-million offer not enough for Dan Hurley? 'There probably is a number' to leave UConn

UConn head coach Dan Hurley celebrates after defeating Illinois in the Elite 8 college basketball game in the men's NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Connecticut coach Dan Hurley talked Thursday about the difficulty he had in choosing between staying with the Huskies or becoming the Lakers' head coach. (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

The Lakers offered Connecticut coach Dan Hurley a large sum — $70 million over six years — to become their head coach.

He turned them down to return to UConn and attempt to coach the Huskies to a third consecutive NCAA championship.

Is there a dollar amount the Lakers could have offered Hurley that would have changed his mind?

"There probably is," Hurley said Thursday on "The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz," although he said he wasn't sure what that amount would be.

Read more: JJ Redick gets his shot with in-person Lakers interview this weekend

Making his first public comments since turning down the Lakers' offer Monday, Hurley said the number would have had to have been pretty extraordinary for him to leave behind his situation in Storrs, Conn.

“To leave a place that you feel the way we do and the family connection with my wife, my sons, my mother-in-law, my father — I know how much it means to my dad to go to the Big East tournament and to come to 10 UConn games a year at home and sit courtside when I’m coaching against Rick Pitino, you know?" Hurley said.

"To leave all that behind, there probably is a number. I don't know what that is.”

Hurley, the son of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley Sr., is 141-58 in six seasons at Connecticut, including 68-11 in the last two seasons, both of which ended with NCAA tournament championships. In a whirlwind of events last week, Hurley became the Lakers' top candidate to replace fired coach Darvin Ham and flew out to meet with controlling owner Jeanie Buss and executive vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka on Friday.

“After thinking about it earlier in the week, it was something I wanted to explore, you know, the opportunity to potentially coach the Lakers and to coach one of the greatest players of all time [LeBron James] and to coach another one of the best players in the NBA in [Anthony Davis] and to lead such a storied franchise and to walk the sidelines where some of the greatest to ever do it, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson," Hurley said. "It was something in my mind that I had to explore and consider and see what it looked like.”

Hurley told Le Batard that he struggled with the decision throughout the weekend but set a deadline to make up his mind by bedtime Sunday night, ahead of a Connecticut team practice already scheduled for the following day.

”You have two incredible opportunities and it tears you up inside," Hurley said. "From when we landed and started spending time with Rob and Jeanie and spent time around the facility, and then knowing what you’d be leaving at UConn and trying to imagine what it would be like walking into the locker room and telling your team, 'I’m not with you guys anymore.'

Read more: Plaschke: Dan Hurley rejection is another humiliation for Lakers brand

"Because the beautiful thing that is still there for us at UConn that NIL and the portal has not destroyed is that we have a real beautiful connection here still in college, that there’s a feeling of connection, brotherhood. There’s real, true emotion and feelings for each other here because of the way that our program functions that in the end is probably a deciding factor. [It's] your desire to continue to be a part of that and not knowing that that necessarily is something that you could be a part of in the professional ranks.”

If he hadn't given himself a deadline, Hurley said, "I would have tortured myself over the decision for a longer period of time because, you know, the chance to coach the Lakers, LeBron and AD and to work for Jeanie Buss and to work with Rob Pelinka, it was a hard thing to pass up.”

Sign up for our weekly newsletter on all things Lakers.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.