ESPN’s JJ Redick interviews for Raptors job in coaching twist

The Toronto Raptors have interviewed an unlikely candidate for their head coaching vacancy.

JJ Redick, a former NBA player and current ESPN analyst, “was part of a first-round of candidates to meet with franchise leadership” about the Raptors’ top job, Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday.

This news comes on the heels of a previous report from Sportsnet, which noted the Raptors have “looked into the possibility” of the 38-year-old Redick “being head coach material.”

Redick starred for four years at Duke before embarking on a 15-year NBA career that included stops with the Magic, Bucks, Clippers, Sixers, Pelicans, and Mavericks.

Redick last played in the NBA in 2021.

He has been working as a podcaster and as an analyst at ESPN ever since.

Redick spoke to Esquire last year about whether he would like to coach one day.

ESPN analyst JJ Redick looks on ahead of a Knicks-Sixers game in March 2022.
ESPN analyst JJ Redick looks on ahead of a Knicks-Sixers game in March 2022.
Getty Images

“It’s funny because I had a lot of coaches throughout my career tell me I would coach when I was done,” Redick said.

“Or they would try to. Rick [Carlisle] was like this in Dallas. He was like, ‘You should coach. You would love it.’ I was there two half months, and I spent a ton of time with Rick. He was so good to me. Doc [Rivers] would always tell me that. I’m like, ‘Doc, there’s no f–king way I’m gonna coach.’

“And then, last spring, I just started thinking: Maybe I do want to coach. I always thought if I did something in basketball, it would be front office because I like the intellectual component of that. And I like the idea of not only managing people, but other people managing me. The collaboration component of a front office.”

Redick elaborated on how coaching began to appeal to him when he began working as a color commentator.

JJ Redick on the Sixers in 2019.
JJ Redick on the Sixers in 2019.
Getty Images

“There’s something about being in the action. And I think it probably started around the time I started calling games. Because you’re back. You’re a part of the experience. You’re a part of the game. For me, that was probably the trigger point,” he said.

Redick also revealed he had been targeted for other assistant coaching gigs.

“Then I got randomly four unsolicited, ‘Do you want to coach? Do you want to join the staff?’ [messages] from different teams. And truthfully, I considered two of them. Not just the Celtics — sorry, I considered another one,” Redick said.

“I just didn’t feel like the timing was right. Maybe the timing will never be right. And maybe the media stuff ends up being a 20-to-30-year thing. I just know that what I’m doing right now feels like the right thing.”

The Raptors fired Nick Nurse in April after five seasons at the helm.

Becky Hammon, who coached the Las Vegas Aces to the 2022 WNBA championship, and former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson are among the other reported candidates for the job.

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