From Marc Berman:
It would be an easier sell for Clippers coach Doc Rivers if Kristaps Porzingis didn’t tear his ACL three weeks ago to complicate the Knicks’ rebuilding program.
But according to a former Rivers associate, it’s not far-fetched for the one-time Knicks guard to have interest in the team’s coaching job if Jeff Hornacek, who has one year left on his contract, is let go after the season.
“Doc enjoyed his time there,’’ the former associate said. “He respects the city, he respects the organization.’’
The Knicks, who are scheduled to leave for Los Angeles after Wednesday’s practice, will face Rivers’ Clippers on Friday at Staples Center.
Rivers has one year left on his contract that reportedly pays him about $10 million per season and he’d likely seek an extension in the offseason. Since he’s under contract, compensation in the form of a draft pick would be in order if Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry attempted to pursue Rivers.
I don’t believe Doc Rivers is seriously interested in joining the Knicks. He’s not the guy he was in 1999-00 who had the fire to prove himself with a young team (when he won the Coach of the Year by taking a Magic team just running out the time until they tried to sign a trio of free agents the next season – of course, what people forget is that the “mess” of players he had included a 25-year-old Ben Wallace, who the Magic then dumped to clear room to try to sign Tim Duncan, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. They only got the latter two and got to watch Ben Wallace win a title in Detroit. Can you believe that the Pistons got Ben Wallace just for facilitating Grant Hill leaving them in free agency? Has any team ever gotten something that good for facilitating a sign and trade for a player who was going to sign with the other team no matter what? It’s typically just, like, a second rounder or something like that. The Pistons also got Chucky Atkins in that deal!). He is now a guy who wants to win now.
I suspect that this is more about getting the Clippers to shell out big money for an extension for him or perhaps for the New Orleans Pelicans to step up and give the Clippers something to let them sign Rivers. The Knicks, by the way, don’t have anything that they should ever trade for Doc Rivers, so it is hopefully a moot point.
I like Rivers as a coach a lot, but yeah, he would not make sense here at all. It’s hilarious that KP’s injury actually helps them here, as otherwise, Rivers could come here and the Knicks could make some “win now” moves and win 35 games next year.
Here’s an interesting question – if your only two options for Knicks coach next season were trading the Bulls second rounder for Rivers or signing Mark Jackson outright for next season, which one would you choose?