Now that the NBA Finals are over, it may not be long before JJ Redick becomes the next Los Angeles Lakers head coach. The former NBA player and current media personality has been reported as a candidate for the job since the Lakers fired Darvin Ham in early May, but there are likely some who believe Redick will have gotten the job solely because of his relationship with LeBron James.

Redick, who had been part of ESPN's NBA Finals broadcast team, began co-hosting the ‘Mind the Game' podcast with James this season, which made some question if James had any ulterior motives. Despite reaching the Western Conference Finals last season and winning the first NBA In-Season Tournament this season, the Lakers notably struggled throughout the 2023-24 campaign in Ham's second season as Lakers head coach.

So when James began hosting a weekly podcast with Redick in which they discussed their basketball knowledge and philosophies, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said some coaches reached out to him who were “salty” that James would do the podcast, feeling it “hurt” Ham.

“Numerous coaches, Black coaches called me expressing how they took issue with that podcast taking place… Some of them felt very salty about that,” Smith said on ‘First Take.' “Any of us would do a podcast with LeBron James. … We're not faulting JJ in any way for doing the podcast or for the content on the podcast with LeBron James, but at some point in time we do have to do this… we have to remember the things we've said about LeBron James as it pertains to his brilliance,  as it pertains to controlling a narrative, as it pertains to being two, three, five steps ahead of others, in terms of what you're plotting and what you're planning and what have you.”

Stephen A. Smith suspicious of LeBron James' timing to start podcast with JJ Redick

JJ Redick guarding Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James

The issue Stephen A. Smith and the coaches that have contacted him would seem to have with LeBron James' podcast with JJ Redick relates to the timing of the podcast. Smith said that the podcast could have waited until the end of the regular season and debuted during the playoffs, although it's likely James would have been criticized for a lack of focus by certain media members if he began a podcast during the postseason.

Either way, Smith, who said he celebrated the launch of ‘Mind the Game,' claimed the “optics” of the situation were poor considering Ham's tenuous status as Lakers head coach.

Now, it appears Redick will become James' next head coach despite having no coaching experience other than his son's youth basketball team. To make up for his lack of coaching experience, Redick brings with him 15 seasons worth of experience playing in the NBA. He began his career with the Orlando Magic and most notably had stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers before eventually retiring in 2021.

Before retirement, Redick began podcasting, but his media career has exploded since turning his full attention to it. In the last three years, Redick has hosted some of the most popular NBA podcasts, including ‘Mind the Game' with James, and become one of ESPN's top color commentators. After Doc Rivers left ESPN midseason to return to coaching with the Milwaukee Bucks, Redick replaced Rivers on ESPN's No. 1 broadcast team, allowing him to call his first NBA Finals.