"I'm going nowhere," Rivers said. The Clippers coach also said he and team owner Steve Ballmer have agreed to an extension.
The most recent Lakers rumors originated from NBA columnist Peter Vecsey (formerly of the New York Post), who wrote on his Patreon page (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll) that "[Rivers] 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."
On March 5, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN also said the following regarding any potential Lakers coaching switch:
"Probably not Ty Lue. ... Ty Lue would like the job, I just want to let you know, Ty Lue would like the job. He doesn't want to be an assistant, his health is good. He would like the job, if it were offered to him. But I'm also hearing that Doc Rivers may potentially be pursued. And obviously the one guy that Magic and LeBron would love most is Mike Krzyzewski, but nobody thinks that that's a job that he would ever taken. Those are the three names you need to keep an eye on.
"... Add Mark Jackson to that list as well, because there are people who think he warrants consideration, and Jason Kidd. Okay. Those are the five names, you got Ty Lue. You got Doc Rivers. You got Mike Krzyzewski. You got Mark Jackson. You got Jason Kidd. Those are the names you're hearing. I'm hearing more so Doc Rivers."
Rivers emphatically denied any move to the Purple and Gold, however. Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group relayed more of Rivers' comments:
Mirjam Swanson @MirjamSwanson
Doc Rivers: "Let me end this. Magic Johnson & I are very close friends...but Steve Ballmer and I have a great relationship. He gave me an out, where I could opt-out this summer...early this year, let's end this thing, extend, make it a longer deal. I'm here. My job is not done."
Current Lakers head coach Luke Walton is currently in the third year of a five-year deal, but the Los Angeles' 31-39 season has increased noise that this could be his last season running the team.
Marc Stein of the New York Times (h/t Newsweek's Dan Cancian) wrote on March 5 that "the prevailing assumption in league coaching circles remains that Walton will almost certainly be dismissed after the season."
Walton is in a situation where very few coaches could find success. No team has suffered more injuries than Los Angeles, which has seen Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball lost for the season with ailments and LeBron James out for a 17-game stretch in late December and January with a groin strain. Those three and Kyle Kuzma barely played over a quarter of the season together.
Still, there's bound to be changes after a sixth straight season out of the playoffs, one that was completely unexpected given James' offseason arrival. Roster and coaching changes seem inevitable in Los Angeles, but the one thing we know is that Rivers won't be part of them.