With their inability to end their playoff drought in the 2018-19 NBA season, rumors and speculation have started to circulate that the Los Angeles Lakers are planning to fire Luke Walton as head coach next summer. In the past months, several names have emerged as potential replacements for Walton, including former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, Tom Izzo of Michigan State, and former New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams.
Recently, Peter Vecsey of Patreon, as reported by The Big Lead, opened up the possibility that Doc Rivers, who is still under contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, could become a top candidate to be the Lakers’ next head coach. Despite having LeBron James on their roster, there is no doubt that the Clippers are a much better team than the Lakers right now. The Clippers also have a higher chance of building a title contending team since they are set to have enough salary cap space to chase the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, and Kemba Walker in the 2019 NBA free agency.
However, Peter Vecsey revealed that there is a strong chance that Doc Rivers will consider leaving the Clippers for the Lakers, as he has reportedly dreamt of mentoring the purple and gold before he permanently retires.
“Would Rivers earnestly consider leaving a rebuilt playoff team (three starters are 22, 22 & 20; and then there’s Danilo Gallinari and two nuclear subs) that will enjoy enough cap space July 1 to entice on paper two free agents worthy of maximum investment (Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are my educated guesses), and an owner who won’t faintly flinch to shell it out? Of course, Rivers would! According to a confidant, he almost always has wanted to leash the Lakers. In conversations over the years, Doc frequently expressed an ardent ambition to coach either them, or the Knicks before retiring, if for no other motivation than their worldwide brands.”
Doc Rivers is the perfect replacement for Luke Walton, giving the Lakers a head coach with championship experience and someone who LeBron James respects. However, chasing Rivers next summer won’t be easy as most people think. Since he just signed a contract extension that will keep him through the 2020-21 NBA season, Rivers will still be needing to ask permission from the Clippers to let him out of the deal or to trade him to the Lakers.
If the trade happens, Doc Rivers will become the first head coach to be traded twice in his career. As of now, it remains unknown if Rivers really has a plan to leave the Clippers for the Lakers. Expect more rumors to circulate in the 2019 NBA offseason.