NBA Rumors: 76ers' Doc Rivers on Hot Seat, Could Replace Frank Vogel on Lakers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 11, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 10: Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers smiles during a game between the Detroit Pistons and the Philadelphia 76ers on April 10, 2022 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is preparing for his team's first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, but he may be on the sideline for the Los Angeles Lakers as soon as next season.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith suggested he and colleague Tim Legler have heard "scuttlebutt" that "Rivers' job could be on the line in Philadelphia and he could end up in Los Angeles."

His comments come after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Lakers are expected to tell head coach Frank Vogel he is fired as soon as Monday and will then conduct a "lengthy and expansive" search for his replacement that features "no clear initial frontrunner."

The writing has been on the wall for Vogel for some time during what turned into a nightmare of a season for the Lakers.

Bill Oram and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported in January that the veteran coach's job was in "serious jeopardy," and Los Angeles did not turn things around on the court down the stretch to help him save his position.

Injuries were a major part of that with Anthony Davis appearing in 40 games and LeBron James playing 56, but the Lakers were far from the only team in the league to deal with health concerns. In fact, they weren't even the only team in Los Angeles to do so, but the Clippers still made the play-in tournament with Kawhi Leonard missing the entire season and Paul George playing 31 games.

The Russell Westbrook trade also did not go according to plan, as he struggled to adjust to playing alongside the other two stars and shot an ugly 29.8 percent from three-point range.

Change is likely needed in Los Angeles if the Purple and Gold are going to challenge for a championship next season, and Rivers is an experienced coach with one of those rings on his resume.

The 60-year-old has coached the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Clippers and 76ers throughout his career and possesses a 1,043-735 record with one championship, two NBA Finals appearances and 18 playoff appearances in 23 seasons.

He is accustomed to coaching stars such as James Harden, Joel Embiid, Leonard, George, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Tracy McGrady and is someone who would likely immediately garner respect from James, Davis and the primary pieces on the Lakers if he was the coach next season.

This is a key offseason in Los Angeles as the storied franchise attempts to revamp its personnel to make sure the 2021-22 campaign was more of a blip than the start of a troubling trend, and Rivers has a history of success and could be available if the 76ers don't live up to expectations in the Eastern Conference playoffs.