As the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff chances become slimmer, rumors of a coaching change. Luke Walton is the current head coach of the Lakers and led them through their up and down season. Walton became the head coach of the Lakers in 2016. This is Walton’s third year with the Lakers, but his first year coaching LeBron James. The Lakers are 31-40 this season and 11th in the West nearly 10 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth seed. With 11 games remaining, the Lakers’ playoff chances are fading.
James’ first season with the Lakers is arguably disappointing. As the head coach, Walton received part of the blame. Despite rumors of his job status, Walton fought through the season. As the season comes to an end, the rumors remain. Now, the Lakers’ are attached to another head coach. This coach is currently the head coach of the Clippers. The Lakers are possibly interested in hiring Doc Rivers.
Doc Rivers joined the Clippers in 2013, acquiring him from the Celtics. The Celtics received a 2015 first round draft pick in the exchange for Rivers. He has coached the Clippers ever since. Rivers helped the Clippers reach the playoffs for four straight seasons. Rivers and the Clippers missed the playoffs for the first time last season, but, they are back in the playoff picture.
The Clippers have a record of 42-30. They are likely going to make the playoffs and could potentially land two max players this summer. The Clippers are in an interesting position. Yet, there are rumors that the Lakers are interested in Rivers. However, Rivers ended speculation by saying him and the Clippers verbally agreed to a long-term extension.
When asked about the Laker rumors, Rivers gave a definitive answer. He said that he intends on staying with the Clippers for a long time. Rivers said as long as Clippers owner Steve Ballmer wants him there, Rivers will stay.
“Well, I have a job and the Lakers have a coach, No. 1, and I am going nowhere,” Rivers said. “I can tell you that. Straight and up front, I’m going to be here until Steve (Ballmer) says get out. I plan on being here a long time.”
Rivers also said that while he and Magic Johnson are good friends, he has goals to accomplish with the Clippers.
“Just so we won’t talk about this for a while, let me end this right now: Magic Johnson and I are very close friends, as you know, and that’s what we are,” Rivers said. “[But] early in this year, we [Ballmer and I] both decided let’s end this thing. Take this option out and extend and make it a longer deal. We’ve long decided on that. We just have chosen not to say anything about it. I’m here. My job is not done here.”
Rivers is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA. He has unfinished business with the Clippers and wants to accomplish them. If the Clippers sign two max players this summer, they can become contenders. Then, Rivers would be closer to accomplish his goals.
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