LOS ANGELES — LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers ended any speculation about him coaching elsewhere after the season, revealing Tuesday that he and the Clippers verbally agreed to a longer-term contract extension earlier this season.
Responding to a question about his potential candidacy for the Los Angeles Lakers’ job if they were to make a change from Luke Walton following a disappointing season, Rivers shut down any idea of him moving to L.A.’s other NBA team.
“Well, I have a job and the Lakers have a coach, No. 1, and I am going nowhere,” Rivers said before the Clippers’ 115-109 win against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. “I can tell you that. Straight and up front, I’m going to be here until [Clippers owner] Steve [Ballmer] says get out. I plan on being here a long time.”
Lakers coach Luke Walton shot down calls to shut down LeBron James for the remainder of the season Tuesday, saying he has not had any discussions with the four-time MVP about sitting out the last 12 games.
Rivers said he and Ballmer agreed to a contract extension last summer that included an option for Rivers to get out of the contract this summer if he chose to. But Rivers said he and Ballmer already have verbally agreed to forgo the option and work out a longer extension, which is pending the completion of paperwork.
“Just so we won’t talk about this for a while, let me end this right now: [Lakers president] Magic Johnson and I are very close friends, as you know, and that’s what we are,” Rivers said. “[But] early in this year, we [Ballmer and I] both decided let’s end this thing. Take this [option] out and extend and make it a longer deal. We’ve long decided on that. We just have chosen not to say anything about it. I’m here. My job is not done here.
“I came here for a lot of reasons, and one of them was obviously to win a world championship, and the other one was to make this a place that people respect and want to come here. I think we are accomplishing that part, but not the first part, yet. That’s my goal and that’s it. We don’t need to go on this anymore, thank you, please. I’m going to be here and I am looking forward to the future.”
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In his sixth season with the Clippers, Rivers is in the midst of arguably his best coaching job. Although the Clippers entered the season with low expectations and then traded leading scorer and rebounder Tobias Harris at last month’s deadline, they are in eighth place in the Western Conference, with wins in eight of their previous nine games.
The Lakers, meanwhile, have struggled with injuries and drama and are 31-40 after Tuesday night’s loss at the Milwaukee Bucks.
Although Johnson could make a coaching change after this season, Rivers made sure to take his name out of consideration.
“We’ve done that a while ago, we just haven’t — all the paperwork and that stuff is still being done,” Rivers said when asked about his verbal agreement to a new extension with the Clippers. “Steve was a man of his word. He really was. He gave a coach a chance to do what he wanted to do if he wanted to, and this coach has chosen to stay right where he’s at and very happy about it.”