Lakers Rumors: LA Hasn't 'Abandoned Hope' 76ers HC Doc Rivers Becomes Available

Erin WalshMay 23, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 12: Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the second half against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center on May 12, 2022 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. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have three finalists for their vacant head-coaching job, but it appears they're still hoping another potential candidate hits the market. 

The Lakers "have not completely abandoned hope" that Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers will become available this summer, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

Rivers is the Lakers' preferred choice, Bill Plaschke reported on The Doug Gottlieb Show earlier this month. However, the 60-year-old might not be available despite the Sixers falling to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said in his exit interview that Rivers would return for his third season behind the bench.

"I just think he's a great coach," Morey said. "I love working with him. I feel like I'm learning from him. I think [general manager] Elton [Brand] and I and him make a great team, and we're gonna see where this journey takes us.

"But we feel very good about where it's gonna take us, and it's gonna be where we have a very good chance to win the title."

Rivers also denied interest in the Lakers coaching position in April, telling reporters he was "very happy" as head coach in Philadelphia:

"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 — and I'm very happy at my job."

That said, L.A.'s interest in Rivers isn't surprising, considering he has a lengthy resume that includes an NBA title. 

Rivers has been coaching in the NBA since 1999, leading the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, in addition to the Sixers. He is 1,043-735 in the regular season and 104-100 in the playoffs across 23 seasons as a head coach. 

L.A.'s current finalists include Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Ham has made the "strongest impression" of the three, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick