On Monday, veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey got the rumor mill buzzing when he wrote on his Patreon page that Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was interested in coaching his team’s cross-town rivals, the Lakers, in the event that they fire Luke Walton in the offseason. According to Silver Screen and Roll, this rumor came a few weeks after ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith suggested that the Lakers might pursue Rivers as one of their potential replacements for Walton. However, it now appears that neither of those rumors will be coming true, as Rivers recently broke his silence on the matter, while also sharing some updates on his status with the Clippers going forward.
“I’m going nowhere,” Rivers said, as quoted by The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I can tell you that straight and up front. I’m going to be here until [Clippers owner] Steve [Ballmer] says ‘Get out.’ I plan on being here a long time.”
Rivers commented on his relationship with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, saying that he and Johnson are “very close friends.” However, he stressed that he and Ballmer, the former Microsoft chief executive officer who purchased the Clippers in 2014, “have a great relationship” and that he wants to put to rest any talk of him possibly jumping ship to coach another NBA team in the near future.
As further noted by The San Diego Union-Tribune, Rivers had signed a multiyear contract extension with the Clippers in May 2018 with an opt-out clause that would have, in theory, allowed him to leave the team this summer. This, he explained, was designed to give him the opportunity to see if he was comfortable with the “new direction” the team was taking. But with Rivers seemingly content with how things have played out, he said that he and Ballmer had mutually agreed to replace that old extension with a newer and longer one.
“We both decided, let’s end this thing. We both decided to take this [clause] out and extend and make it a longer deal. We’ve long decided on that and just chosen not to say anything about it. I’m here. My job is not done here.”
The recent rumors linking Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Lakers were among the latest that focused on the team’s coaching situation and the widely-held expectation that Walton, who is in the third year of a five-year contract, will be sacked due to the Lakers’ underwhelming performance in the 2018-19 season. According to Bleacher Report, there have been several other names brought up as possible candidates for the Lakers’ coaching job in the coming season, including Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, and even legendary Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski, as previously suggested by Smith when he first discussed the chances of Rivers taking over from Walton.