According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers are “watching developments closely” regarding Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers. Following the Sixers’ fourth Eastern Conference semifinals finish in five seasons, the rumor bus is already off to the races. Windhorst appeared on ESPN’s and immediately stoked the flames of what many have known for some time, the Lakers are interested in Doc Rivers.
While there had previously been rumors connecting the coach and the west-coast team, Windhorst’s backing of the rumor gives it new life. On paper, a Doc Rivers/Lakers marriage makes a lot of sense. For the Lakers, the get an old school coach for their old school team. While that may sound like a backhanded compliment, it’s not much different of a concept than the current “player coaches” in the league.
Despite his comments last month, the opening in Los Angeles makes all the sense in the world for Doc Rivers. The recently ranked top 15 coach of all-time has coached in the city before for the Clippers and found success (albeit similar success as he’s had with the Sixers). LA is also widely considered to be one of the most desirable markets for players and for coaches and a storied franchise like the Lakers would be a fantastic “next chapter” in Rivers’ career.
In order for this to happen though, the Philadelphia 76ers and Doc Rivers would have to part ways of course but would Philadelphia do that? While there’s been no word out of Philly yet it wouldn’t be overly shocking as Rivers has clashed with many in front of him including some in the franchise according to earlier reports. The team has also publicly struggled for the second consecutive year under Rivers and — as is often the case — they could utilize him as a scapegoat and move on.
Then there’s the reasons why Doc Rivers may want to part ways with Philadelphia as opposed to just the other way around. Rivers has clashed with the Philadelphia media from day one. There is no love lost between the team’s head coach and those who’s job it is to question him. Doc Rivers is clearly fed up and has been some time with the media and the fans, it wouldn’t be the most outlandish thing to suggest that he may enjoy a change of scenery. Especially if that change in scenery leads in in Los Angeles.