When current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers was with the Los Angeles Clippers, he reportedly was close to leaving the franchise for the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Los Angeles Times senior writer and columnist Bill Plaschke. This was before the time the Clippers built a contending team with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and before the Lakers won their 17th championship.
Safe to say, the Lakers dodged a bullet
In the 2020 NBA Bubble, Rivers took a ton of flack for the Clippers' infamous collapse, precisely when they blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets. His adjustments, or lack thereof, were a massive hot topic at that time.
The Clippers couldn't find a way to stop Nikola Jokic -- note this was before he won an MVP. Rivers' decision to put Montrezl Harell (who at that time was the' 6th Man of the Year awardee) to guard Jokic when Ivica Zubac was sitting on the bench remains questionable until this very day.
Meanwhile, the Lakers, led by their superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, thrived with their head coach Frank Vogel (at that time) thanks to their dominant defense and adjustments during the Playoffs. If Rivers did end up moving to the Lakers, would they have beaten their opponents the way they did? No one knows, but it's fair to say Vogel was the better coach in the 2020 playoffs.
Why hiring Rivers would be a mistake
Plaschke's main point in his column is that the Lakers should do everything they can to sign Rivers for their head coach opening in the offseason. Rivers, whose job currently remains secured with the Sixers, would have to be involved in a trade package for the Lakers to acquire him.
The columnist argued that the purple and gold should go all-in on Rivers because he's the perfect veteran coach and voice to lead this disoriented Lakers roster.
Rivers may know what it's like to lead a veteran-laden roster, but does he have the coaching skills that would bold well with James, Davis, and potentially Russell Westbrook (if he does end up staying)? Rivers' record suggests that he hasn't had much success even if he's gotten the opportunity to coach Chris Paul, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Leonard, and George. So what makes him credible enough to coach a Lakers roster that badly needs to turn things around?
What the Lakers need is a leader who can command the respect of their superstars and at the same time put them in the best position to succeed on the court. How will the Lakers' superstar respect a coach who hasn't won in the past decade and isn't the best X and O tactician? The Lakers need a competent and proven coach, which Rivers isn't.
If the Lakers don't hire Doc Rivers in the offseason (which is likely to be the case), that would be another bullet dodged for the franchise.