The Lakers’ 2021-22 season has been a massive disappointment. They’re stuck way down in 11th place in the Western Conference and aren’t far off missing the NBA’s play-in tournament — let alone actually securing a playoff spot. There’s little they can do to work on their roster apart from trading Russell Westbrook, and speculation over what they’ll do with their head coaching position will only increase as the end of the season approaches.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer has confirmed in a new report that the Lakers are “still expected to part ways” with Vogel. Marc Stein reported last month that Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is mentioned most often around the league as Vogel’s possible replacement, while Fischer has now reported that Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is a potential candidate, too:
Doc Rivers, the Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach, is another active bench leader being mentioned by league personnel as a potential Lakers candidate. Rivers’ tenure in Philadelphia has also come into question of late, spurred by team president Daryl Morey’s deadline acquisition of James Harden and the mounting speculation that followed about a potential reunification with Harden’s former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Rivers has also been linked by several league sources as a potential replacement for the Jazz, in the event Snyder does depart Utah.
Rivers — the head coach of a contending team that’s about to begin a hopefully long playoff run — being connected to a job with another team isn’t the kind of story you’d expect to see at this late stage of the season. However, at this point, the Lakers’ focus has clearly shifted to the offseason and any changes they can make.
Fischer didn’t add how interested Rivers may be in potentially heading to L.A., but did note that there is “a healthy dose of skepticism around the NBA that Snyder would have interest in a hypothetical Lakers marriage.”
All reports and public comments over the last year or two have reiterated that the Sixers and Daryl Morey are firmly behind Rivers, but it’s hard to imagine that another disappointing playoff exit before the Eastern Conference Finals wouldn’t prompt the team to consider a coaching change. If that does end up being the case, D’Antoni’s offensive creativity (not to mention history with Harden) and Snyder’s long track record of strong two-way coaching in Utah would make them both interesting options for the Sixers.
Only time will tell how Philly fares this postseason, and exactly what direction the Sixers and Lakers want to go in with their head coach positions. It looks like significant coaching changes could be coming around the league this offseason, though.