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Doc Rivers will not be the Lakers next head coach, returning to Sixers

The Lakers dodged their biggest bullet of the offseason as Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told media on Friday that Doc Rivers would be returning as the team’s head coach.

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NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

And exhale Lakers fans. Doc Rivers will not be your next head coach.

Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey confirmed to the media during his exit interview on Friday that Rivers would be returning as the team’s head coach, ending a slew of rumors surrounding his job security.

Rivers was a polarizing candidate at best for the Lakers. His history as head coach of the two biggest modern day rivals of the Lakers in the Boston Celtics and Clippers certainly did not help his case in the court of public opinion. Nor did his extensive history of comments about the Lakers that dated back over a decade to the 2010 NBA Finals.

While the Lakers search for a head coach is still in the relatively early stages, as more candidates eliminated themselves from consideration — namely Quin Snyder and Nick Nurse — Doc began moving up the list of qualified candidates by default. He did his best to deflect the rumors, saying he was not a candidate for the position but the Lakers reportedly took a slower approach to their search to see if Doc became available.

With him now off the board now, the pool of coaches available with head coaching experience is a very limited one. The Lakers have interviewed both Terry Stotts and Mark Jackson, two of the only candidates with previous stints as head coach. While experience hasn’t been a qualifying factor in the team’s search, having a first-year coach step into the messy situation the Lakers present with an edict to win on day one will be daunting.

The Lakers search will then likely continue with a number of assistants being the focus as has been the case over the last week. The recent names added to the list in Charles Lee of Milwaukee and Kenny Atkinson of Golden State both are assistant coaches — though Atkinson does have head coaching experience in Brooklyn — a recurring trend in the team’s search overall with Darvin Ham of the Bucks and Adrian Griffin of the Raptors receiving interviews as well.

Considering the team was reportedly taking things slow for Doc and Snyder and both are now unavailable, the process could start taking a step forward with more candidates potentially being interviewed before the team moves onto the next stage of the search.

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