One day after the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey made it clear he wants Doc Rivers to return as coach.
Rivers, who has been linked as a potential candidate to replace Frank Vogel as Lakers coach, was thought to be on the hot seat after the 76ers failed to make it out of the second round of the playoffs for a second consecutive postseason.
Morey put those thoughts to rest when asked if he wanted Rivers to return as coach.
“Yes,” he replied to reporters during an exit interview on Friday.
Morey said that he, Rivers and general manager Elton Brand had a good working relationship.
“I just think he’s a great coach and I love working with him,” Morey said of Rivers. “I think Elton and I and him make a great team, and we’re going to see where this journey takes us.”
“We’ve got a lot of things things that we think we can improve on. That’s on myself, that’s on Elton [Brand], that’s on Coach Rivers. We’re going to figure this out. But we feel like there’s a lot to build on. We’ve got Tyrese Maxey, who I think took a huge leap, has been beating expectations since he got to the league and before it. He puts the work in. Tobias Harris, I thought we got some of his best basketball. Joel [Embiid] is playing the best basketball of his life, obviously went through some challenges and was a warrior. We think a full year of James [Harden], we can unlock what he brings us. That said, we know we have to improve. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager and vice president of basketball operations, said the team hoped to have a new coach by the NBA draft in June. The team has received permission to talk to NBA assistant coaches Kenny Atkinson, Andre Griffin, Darvin Ham and Charles Lee about the job and interviewed former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts and former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
Rivers, 60, helped the Clippers become an annual playoff contender during their “Lob City” years after guiding the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA title. He is under contract for at least two or three more seasons, according to multiple reports.
Philadelphia has gone 100-54 in two seasons under Rivers, but were eliminated by the upstart Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2021 playoffs and the Miami Heat on Thursday.
Rivers has a 1,043-735 record (58.7 winning percentage) in 23 seasons as a head coach in the NBA.
Internet and wire reports contributed to this story.