Dan Hurley insists he didn't use Lakers' interest as leverage for a better contract from UConn

Dan Hurley balked at the notion that he used interest from the Los Angeles Lakers as leverage to get a better contract from UConn.

Appearing on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on Thursday, the two-time national championship coach said that no “leverage play” was necessary because terms of his new contract with UConn have already been in place as the Huskies prepare to pursue a third consecutive national title.

“One of the worst takes I’ve heard is that this was a leverage play by me to improve my situation at UConn,” Hurley said. “I don’t need leverage here. We’ve won back-to-back national championships at this place… I’ve had a contract in place here for a couple of weeks.”

Hurley said he wasn’t using the situation to become the highest-paid coach in college basketball. According to him, his new contract will do that, which means he’ll make more than the $9.6 million per year that Kansas coach Bill Self is currently paid.

“The financial part, in terms of salary, has been done for a while,” he added. “There’s some other parts, like NIL and staff salaries, some different things that I want adjusted, that I’m not comfortable with. But the sense of the idea that this was some conspiracy to get me a sweeter deal at UConn is just, it’s lazy.”

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However, Hurley did acknowledge that he could have taken the Lakers job if he’d received an offer that he couldn’t refuse. The Lakers reportedly offered Hurley a six-year, $70 million deal, which would have placed him among the NBA’s six highest-paid coaches.

“To leave a place at any moment in your life, to say that it’s not a motivating factor — the finances — is definitely a thing,” Hurley said. “I know how much it means to my dad to go to the Big East tournament and come to 10 UConn games a year at home, sitting courtside, when I’m coaching against Rick Pitino. To leave all of that behind, there probably is a number. I don’t know what that is.”

In another interview with CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, Hurley said that he didn’t say no to the Lakers, but said yes to UConn.

“At the end of the day, I get to coach 18- and 19-year-old kids. And you can make an impact,” he explained. “I’ll go sit at the draft in 10 days with people whose lives you helped change. That, to me, matters a lot. Once the money and the ego and all that stuff is out, I love coaching. I love to run a program. That’s what’s important to me.”

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