The Lakers head coaching search appears to have boiled down to Terry Stotts, Darvin Ham, and Kenny Atkinson. At least, those are three finalists that are in the public eye. However, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that rival team officials believe that the Lakers haven't completely accepted that Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers won't become available.
Stein's Monday morning article outlined the whispers about Rivers and the Lakers.
"Suspicions persist in league coaching circles that the Lakers have not completely abandoned hope that Philadelphia's Doc Rivers becomes unexpectedly available — despite the recent insistence from Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey that Rivers will be back in Philly next season."
Following the Sixers playoff exit, Philadelphia president Daryl Morey stated that Doc Rivers is part of the team's future plans.
“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."
However, things change quickly in the NBA. Rivers is currently under contract with Philadelphia and would have to either be fired, or be traded, in order to have a chance of becoming the next head coach of the Lakers.
Stein is also of the opinion that there could be another name or two in the mix for the Lakers job.
"If you use the strict interpretation of the word finalist, one of these three men will definitely be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers: Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts or Kenny Atkinson. My sense: Drawing such rigid conclusions remains a touch premature."
The Lakers are expected to conduct their next round of interviews in-person in Los Angeles with team owner Jeanie Buss in attendance to reinforce that all is well in Lakerland.