1-Time Champion Considered ‘Ideal Head Coach’ for Lakers

Lakers

Getty Lakers bench

The Los Angeles Lakers need a new head coach after firing Frank Vogel on April 11 and Maurice Bobb of Bleacher Report considers a one-time champion to be the ideal man for the job.

In a May 24 column, Bobb wrote that Doc Rivers would be the “ideal head coach” for the Lakers for several reasons.

“Additionally, Los Angeles’ front office didn’t feel that Vogel brought out the best in Westbrook or set him up for success, so they want a coach who can find a way to salvage the 2017 MVP’s career, if they decide not to trade the 33-year-old,” Bobb wrote. “That’s easier said than done, but Rivers has experience dealing with big personalities. He’s coached Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

“Then there’s their superstar duo of Anthony Davis and James. Rivers found a way to make a cohesive group of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett while with the Celtics and won a championship in 2008, so there’s the hope that he can get the most out of Davis and James moving forward.”

Rivers is currently the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. He is signed through the 2024-25 season. After the Sixers lost to the Miami Heat in the 2022 Eastern Conference semifinals, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said Rivers would be back next season.

However, the Lakers are holding out hope that Morey changes his mind about Rivers.


Lakers Haven’t Abandoned Hope of Rivers Becoming Available

The Lakers haven’t abandoned internal hope of Rivers becoming available this summer, according to Marc Stein of Substack. Rivers has coached the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Sixers. He won Coach of the Year in 1999-00 with the Magic and guided the Celtics to the 2008 title over the Lakers.

Rivers was named one of the 15 greatest coaches in NBA history this year. However, he hasn’t reached the conference finals since leaving the Celtics. After the Sixers fell to the Heat in six games, Rivers defended himself and got into a brief back-and-forth with a reporter.

“I don’t worry about my job,” Rivers said. “I think I do a terrific job. If you don’t, then you should write it because I worked my butt off to get this team here. When I first got here, no one picked us to be anywhere. Again this year, the same thing. If that’s how anyone feels, write it. I’m going to feel secure about it.”

Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson have interviewed with the Lakers. According to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Ham “appears to have made the strongest impression.”


Lakers Could Trade for Rivers

Amick noted that a possible trade between the Sixers and Lakers for Rivers can’t be ruled out. The Celtics traded Rivers to the Clippers in the summer of 2013.

“The Sixers wasted no time in making it clear that Doc Rivers will be their coach next season, but it’s still fair to wonder if that will turn out to be the case — if only because of Rivers’ history,” Amick wrote on May 16. “Back in the summer of 2013, of course, his desire to coach the Clippers led to their trade with the Celtics for his services (Boston landed a 2015 first-rounder in the deal). So if the Lakers decided that he was the right guy to replace Vogel, and if Rivers wanted that job more than the one he has, then maybe we could see a repeat situation here? Then again, the Lakers are in no position to be giving up any of their (extremely) limited assets these days — whether it’s for a coach, a Westbrook deal or otherwise.”

Rivers has won 1,043 regular-season games and 104 playoff games during his coaching career.

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