6:03pm: Rivers is trying to quell rumors that he might go to Orlando, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Speaking with reporters before tonight’s game, Rivers insisted that he has “no future” with the Magic.
5:15pm: League insiders are discussing the possibility that Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers could take a similar role in Orlando, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
The theory, according to Stein, starts with the likelihood that Rob Hennigan will be fired as Magic GM at the end of the season. Add in the upcoming free agency for Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and there’s a possibility that changes are coming in L.A.
Stein hints that the Clippers could be broken up if they fail to reach the conference finals, something the team hasn’t done in the six years Paul and Griffin have been together. If those changes include a coaching move, then Rivers, whose contract as coach and president of basketball operations runs through 2018/19, would become available for Orlando.
If that scenario happens, it would mark a homecoming for Rivers, who started his coaching career with the Magic in 1999.
It’s not clear if Orlando is ready to dismiss current coach Frank Vogel, who was given a four-year contract last summer. Stein says Hennigan’s trade of Serge Ibaka to Toronto last month was an admission that the roster was overstocked with big men, and it appeared to absolve Vogel of blame for a disappointing season.
If Vogel remains, the Magic will consider former Orlando player Pat Garrity to replace Hennigan. Garrity currently serves as associate GM with the Pistons.
Another possibility for the Clippers, Stein notes, is to request that Rivers give up his front office duties and concentrate on coaching. If that happens, the team may reach out to Bob Whitsitt, a former executive with the SuperSonics and Trail Blazers who has close ties to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
Stein also says to watch for the possible departure of L.A. shooting guard J.J. Redick in free agency this summer. Redick complained publicly about the organization this week and may become too expensive for the Clippers to re-sign.