Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has been rumored to coach the New York Knicks, where he was a player from 1992 until 1994.
Mitch Lawrence originally reported that Rivers, as many have speculated, is indeed considered a target (via Sporting News):
“There is a growing sentiment within New York’s hierarchy to hire Rivers, a former Knicks player, to replace Jeff Hornacek. Sources say Hornacek’s days in New York could be over once the season ends. It hasn’t been all of his fault, but he was brought to the Garden by former team president Phil Jackson and not the current regime headed by Steve Mills.”
In a recent story by Marc Berman, he explained that those around the league do not think Mills will bring back Hornaceck and instead view Rivers (as well as Mark Jackson) to be the most likely candidates to replace the head coach.
Hornacek has had issues with several players this season, including Kyle O’Quinn and Joakim Noah.
Berman provided more detail on these highly tense moments, noting that even mild-mannered Kristaps Porzingis had been upset as well (via New York Post):
“According to an NBA source, the Noah-O’Quinn shouting incidents weren’t the first time the lame-duck Knicks coach got profanities thrown his way by a Knicks player. The source told The Post that late last season, Kristaps Porzingis, normally the politest of souls, cursed out Hornacek during a practice, using the F-word.”
This is not the first time Berman linked Rivers to the potential vacancy. In an article that was published last month, a former associate of the Clippers head coach said it is “not far-fetched” to believe Rivers would have interest in the gig.
He reportedly respects the city and the organization as well as players on the team like Tim Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis.
Rivers has long praised Porzingis, noting in January 2016 that he thought the Latvian-born star was “going to be special” due to his immense skill set.
When the big man tore his ACL earlier this season, the Los Angeles head coach noted that it could hurt recruiting other players to play for the Knicks (via Newsday):
“He brings other people. The better he plays the more people want to play with him … Not having him and not knowing when he’ll be back that hurts more than just this year. To me that’s where that injury hurts them the most.”
During the most recent offseason, Porzingis tweeted (then deleted) a cryptic message about the Clippers that included a happy face.
While it’s unclear what any deal would look like, Rivers would likely bring former Knicks player and coach Mike Woodson with him to the staff in New York.
Woodson is currently an assistant for Rivers in Los Angeles but the two have long been associated with the Knicks.