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Lakers Rumors: Doc Rivers, Quin Snyder Availability Reason for Deliberate HC Search

Erin WalshMay 7, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 02: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Miami Heat during the first half in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at FTX Arena on May 02, 2022 in Miami, Florida. 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. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a methodical head coaching search, and it appears the potential availability of two coaches they view as candidates for the job is the reason.

L.A. is "moving deliberately at least in part because" the franchise is waiting to see if Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers or Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is made available this offseason, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported in early April that the Lakers were interested in Rivers. However, his contract with the Sixers runs through the 2024-25 season, and he'd likely have to be fired in order to head West.

Based on how the 76ers have done this season, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 51-31 record and currently in a second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat, it's hard to imagine the franchise would part ways with Rivers this summer.

That said, Rivers denied the Lakers coaching rumors in April, telling reporters he wasn't interested in the position and was "very happy" coaching the Sixers:

"We talk a lot here, and everybody is happy here. We want to get this right. I came here for one reason. Like I said when I took [the job], you're going to like some of the things I do and not gonna like, and from a coaching point, you really can't care about that. But I am committed to winning. I think if we can turn this around, which we have from when we first got here to now, but we want to win it. ... I'm not a candidate. I have a job β€” and I'm very happy at my job."

It's not necessarily surprising that the Lakers are interested in Rivers, though. The 60-year-old has been coaching in the NBA since 1999, with his most successful year coming in 2007-08 when he led the Boston Celtics to a title.

In 23 years in the NBA with the Celtics, Sixers, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers, Rivers is 1,043-735 in the regular season and 103-98 in the postseason. He has led his teams to the playoffs 18 times.

Snyder, who has rejected extension offers from the Jazz, has also been linked to the Lakers for a while. Stein reported in April that L.A.'s interest in the Jazz head coach was "serious," but there were questions about whether he would want to leave Utah to coach the Lakers "in their current state after the never-ending chaos that engulfed Vogel's last two seasons."

Fischer also reported earlier this week that Snyder doesn't view L.A. as an attractive landing spot, adding that he is "more often linked as a possible eventual replacement" for San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who is nearing retirement.

Snyder has been head coach of the Jazz since the 2014-15 season and has led the franchise to the playoffs in each of his last six seasons at the helm. However, Utah has failed to make it past the second round.

That said, Snyder is still an attractive candidate. In eight years as head coach of the Jazz, he is 372-264 in the regular season and 21-30 in the playoffs.

The Lakers fired Vogel after finishing 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record. That said, L.A.'s struggles weren't entirely his fault. The team struggled with injuries to superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis throughout the season, and the addition of Russell Westbrook proved to be a bust.

Considering the season the Lakers just had, the team's next head coach is going to have a lot of work to do.