As the Los Angeles Lakers failed to make the playoffs at the end of the 2021-2022 NBA season, the franchise decided to move on from their head coach, Frank Vogel.
Before Vogel hit the open market officially, there were rumors regarding potential replacements as a failed attempt to make the playoffs was almost certainly going to cost Vogel his job this season.
While several names were linked to the Lakers before the regular season concluded this year, the most shocking one was Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers.
Multiple reports in the past have indicated that league sources believed Rivers was a realistic option to take over for Vogel. In that case, many believe that former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni would then return to Philadelphia for a reunion with Daryl Morey, James Harden, and even Joel Embiid.
But as the playoffs progress, that theory is quickly becoming nothing but a rumor of the past as it seems Rivers and the Sixers are mutually in a good place.
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The Latest on Rivers and the Sixers
Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report was among those who reported that Rivers to LA and D’Antoni to Philadelphia could be a potential scenario. However, he recently stated that the Sixers remain confident in Rivers.
“Despite widespread rumblings of Rivers’ intrigue in the Lakers’ opening, and incessant talk of Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey perhaps desiring a different play-caller, the 76ers have maintained that Rivers and team leadership remain aligned about their future together. Rivers’ contract runs through 2024-25 at $8 million per season, which is a hefty price for ownership to swallow.”
Rivers and the Sixers were dealt a bad hand this season when the three-time All-Star Ben Simmons decided he couldn’t play for the team anymore.
Simmons’ absence on game nights was notable as the Sixers were down a star. His presence during practice and shootarounds was nothing more than a distraction since he was doing all he could to force a trade.
While some teams might fold while dealing with such a situation, Rivers kept the Sixers focused, and Philadelphia kept winning. Anything can happen following the Sixers’ postseason run this year, but the idea of Rivers leaving Philadelphia ahead of next season doesn’t seem to have any real steam behind it.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.