Philadelphia 76ers Rumors: More Doc Rivers to LA Smoke

76ers Basketball
Philadelphia 76ers’ Doc Rivers pauses during a news conference at the team’s NBA basketball practice facility, Friday, May 13, 2022, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It’s been less than two weeks since the Sixers’ regular season ended, and there are already rumors galore for Philadelphia; one such that refuses to go away centers around the team’s coach Doc Rivers. While Daryl Morey immediately stated that Doc Rivers will return as the head coach of the team next season, there was and continues to be reason to believe that may not necessarily be true. Rumors continue to surround the 76ers‘ head coach and the potential for him to join the LA Lakers this offseason.

Seemingly at every turn, this rumor has been shot down, but as one rumor is shot down, another rises in its place. It was initially reported that the Lakers were down to three finalists for their head coaching search. Not long after, Marc Stein reported that there’s still one more contender for the position, and that is, you guessed it, Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach Doc Rivers.

The longtime NBA reporter stated that the Los Angeles Lakers “have not completely abandoned hope” when it comes to the possibility of adding the 76ers’ coach. This concept was not only mentioned but to the extreme by LA Times writer Bill Plaschke who stated that Rivers is actually the preferred candidate for the Lakers. In Plaschke’s own words: “I think their top choice is Doc Rivers.”

A union between Doc Rivers and the LA Lakers makes sense for both sides. Doc Rivers hasn’t exactly melded with the city of Philadelphia since arriving, he has a history of successful coaching in LA, he’s an experienced coach who is considered to be a top 15 coach of all time, and understands working with experienced stars. Add that to the improved weather, and there’s not really a reason it doesn’t make sense — save for the simple fact that Rivers still has three years and roughly $24 million left on his deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

If the Sixers were to move on from Rivers, it’s doubtful that the team would simply fire him as Daryl Morey doesn’t lose value for nothing, and if the Lakers are interested in Doc, then he has value — no matter the court of public opinion. If — and mind you, this is still a fairly large if — Doc Rivers ends up in LA, it will almost certainly be due to a trade between the 76ers and Lakers.

There’s little precedent for trading coaches in the NBA, but the last time one was traded between two teams, it was Doc Rivers, who was traded from an Atlantic division team to a team in LA. Could history repeat itself? Possibly. For now, it’s just smoke, but smoke you’ll want to keep an eye on.