The Philadelphia 76ers have backed Doc Rivers publicly but there appears to be more going on behind the scenes than the team let on.
Rivers is expected to meet with the Sixers’ brass in the coming days to discuss his future and to see if the sides are aligned, per ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
“Here’s what you need to watch for in the next few days in Philadelphia,” Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown. “When they start to sit down on what it’s going to look like moving forward, what are the changes they have to make? Whether it’s personnel, style of play. Are they all on the same page? Do they all see the future [similarly]? Are they aligned in that way?
A team keeping a close eye on how that situation unfolds is the Los Angeles Lakers, who are still in search of a head coach after firing Frank Vogel at the end of the season.
“The Lakers loom out there. They have slow-played their coaching search. They have waited to see is there’s an established veteran, championship perhaps even, coach in the marketplace. It’s not Nick Nurse. It’s not Quin Snyder. So I think they’ll continue to wait to see what happens in Philadelphia with Doc Rivers,” Wojnarowski said.
Sixers Currently Provide Better Title Shot Than Lakers
The Lakers have two stars in Anthony Davis and LeBron James and are just two years removed from winning a title. However, the acquisition of Russell Westbrook and his hefty salary have put the Lakers in a jam in terms of what they can do to build around their two stars.
The Sixers were bounced by a solid Miami Heat team in the Eastern Conference Semifinals but have an MVP candidate in Joel Embiid, a former MVP in James Harden and key pieces around them like Tyrese Maxey.
“I think in a perfect world Doc Rivers stays in Philadelphia. He wants to win a championship. That’s a team that is still closer to that than perhaps what the Lakers’ roster would suggest right now,” Wojnarowski said. “But I think the conversations in Philly now with Doc and the team are going to be important. I don’t think there was ever really any question on whether Philly wanted him back. The idea he would get fired was farfetched. Let’s see what happens when they sit and talk about the future.”
Sixers Meeting With Rivers on Future is Disputed
Wojnarowski is one of the most well-connected reporters in the NBA. However, his report on Rivers was disputed by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“The Philadelphia 76ers do not plan to meet with Doc Rivers to discuss his future and maintains the franchise is committed to the head coach and will work with him to improve the roster,” Haynes tweeted shortly after Wojnarowski’s report made the rounds.
That would jive with what president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said in his exit interview.
“I just think he’s a great coach and I love working with him,” Morey said. “I think Elton and I and him make a great team, and we’re going to see where this journey takes us”