The Philadelphia 76ers have championship aspirations, but if they flame out again in the playoffs it could bring some big personnel changes.
While there hasn’t been a ton of chatter about the future of Doc Rivers as of yet, he’d likely be one of the dominoes to fall if a change is made in the offseason following another disappointing year.
A report from Bleacher Report has linked Rivers to a potential opening for the Lakers in the event that head coach Frank Vogel is let go after the year. This would bring Rivers back to Los Angeles where he had a lot of success with the Clippers, despite not bringing home a championship.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but there’s also a sense that if James Harden wants to get a new coach, he could use his sway with general manager Daryl Morey to do so.
What Could Happen With Rivers?
Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett discusses the possibility that Rivers could leave in the offseason, and it doesn’t even boil down to the team’s success.
“I don’t look at Doc’s future in Philadelphia as a question of how the Sixers perform on the floor,” he said. “I look at it as how the Doc-Daryl Morey relationship works. If that is fine, then everything will be fine. But Doc has his measure of wanderlust. When he left the Celtics, his relationship with Danny Ainge was fine. But he had been looking at leaving, he had looked at leaving prior to that.”
With players having more power than ever in the NBA, it’s important that front offices do what they can to accommodate their stars in the hopes of getting them to commit to the team long term. Harden hasn’t picked up his player option for the next season, so there’s a chance he could bolt if he doesn’t feel like the fit is right.
As for Rivers, an anonymous Eastern Conference executive says they could see him going back to television.
“The question is going to be whether James Harden likes Doc,” said the exec. “Daryl Morey and Doc are fine, they’re not buddies but they have a good enough relationship. But Morey and Harden, that is a tight relationship obviously and if Harden says, ‘Doc is not the coach for me,’ then that’s it, Doc’s gone. And that is where all this could very well be heading. I could see Doc going back into TV because there won’t be too many jobs out there. But the Lakers gig would be hard to turn down for him.”
Some Fans Want Him Out
As the Sixers go through their struggles, there’s a sense among a subsection of fans that they want a change.
In the case of D’Antoni, Harden and him had some success together, but they weren’t able to win a championship in Houston. With Embiid and Harden now together, there’s a possibility a coaching switch would push them over the top, but those questions likely won’t be asked until this season concludes.