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Gregg Giannotti: I Feel Like JJ Redick is ‘a Prick’

JJ Redick, who recently called the NBA Finals as part of the lead broadcasting team for ESPN on ABC, has reportedly been hired as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Redick is reported to have signed a four-year deal worth $8 million per year to coach the Lakers and is working on compiling a coaching staff, according to ESPN senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. Redick has no NBA coaching experience, but he played in the league for 15 seasons with six teams. After his career ended, he joined ESPN and worked as an NBA analyst, appearing across programming such as Get Up, First Take and NBA Today while also providing color commentary to games.

Additionally, Redick established his own company, ThreeFourTwo Productions, through which he co-hosted The Old Man and the Three podcast with Tommy Alter. This past March, Redick launched a new podcast with Lakers forward LeBron James titled Mind the Game in which they discussed different facets of the game.

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Gregg Giannotti reacted to the news on Friday that Redick would be joining the Lakers as its head coach on the Boomer & Gio morning show on WFAN and CBS Sports Network. There had been speculation over the last several weeks that the Lakers were targeting Redick; however, the team reportedly made an offer to UConn men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley to take the job. Hurley ultimately decided to stay with the UConn Huskies as the team looks to secure its third consecutive NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship this upcoming season.

“After the Dan Hurley courting that didn’t work out for the Lakers, they do end up hiring JJ Redick, who does the podcast with LeBron, who has been on ESPN complaining about how everybody’s got hot takes and, ‘All I want to do is talk basketball,’ and, ‘I’m an Xs and Os guy,’ and, ‘You guys are making all this stuff up,’” Giannotti said. “He’s gotten into it with a ton of people, including Mad Dog Russo on First Take, and then he does this Xs and Os basketball podcast with LeBron James, so now he’s going to be the Lakers head coach.”

As Giannotti gave his opinion, he mentioned the success of Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr entering the role with no experience. Yet he inherited a team of emerging superstars, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, and was able to manage personalities and optimize his roster to effectuate results.

“Is JJ Redick, who played in the league, going to be able to stand in front of these guys and be able to manage those personalities like Steve Kerr did?,” Giannotti questioned. “I’m going to say, ‘No,’ just because I feel like he’s a, kind of like a, for lack of a better word, a prick.”

Esiason does not believe that Redick will be able to do it because of the fact that he is friends with James. Over the years, Esiason has observed that friends do not usually work well together in an environment with an immense amount of pressure. In fact, he proceeded to say that the hire is “destined for failure” and presumed that the reason he took the job could be because he has grown tired of broadcasting and wants to coach.

“If your superstar is a jackass in any sport – I don’t care what sports we’re talking about – but if he is a total jackass, your team is going to implode from within,” Esiason said. “Now I’m not saying that LeBron’s a jackass – I’m not saying that – but what I am saying is that he’s the one that controls what goes on, and how is JJ Redick going to be able to kind of just deal with that on a daily basis.”

The departure of Redick marks the second time in the last year that an ESPN NBA analyst has taken a head coaching job. In fact, he was moved into the lead broadcasting booth when Doc Rivers took over head coaching responsibilities for the Milwaukee Bucks in the middle of the 2023-24 regular season. Both analysts worked with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analyst Doris Burke and reporter Lisa Salters during the season, a new lead broadcasting booth following the company letting go of longtime analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson called 15 NBA Finals together, but the network decided to make a change two seasons before the expiration of its current media rights deal with the league. The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC), along with NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video, are reportedly formalizing media rights deals with the National Basketball Association said to be worth a collective $76 billion.

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