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Doc Rivers emphatically denies Lakers rumors


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What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers spoke with his sources close to the Los Angeles Lakers and they provided a major update on the future of coach Luke Walton.
USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Doc Rivers denied rumors on Tuesday night that he’s interested in leaving the Los Angeles Clippers to coach the Lakers.

The LeBron James-led Lakers are 31-39 under coach Luke Walton, whose job status is widely believed to be in jeopardy. Fueling the speculation involving Rivers is that he is close friends with Magic Johnson, Lakers president of basketball operations.

Rivers and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer agreed to a shorter contract extension last year that included an opt-out after this season. Rivers said the opt-out existed to “make sure it was the right fit for everyone.”

However, Rivers said that’s being replaced with a long-term deal.

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“I have a job and the Lakers have a coach,” Rivers said. “Straight and upfront, I’m going to be here until Steve says ‘Get out.’ “

The coach said earlier this year he and Ballmer mutually agreed to remove the opt-out and make it an extension.

“This is a great place to work,” Rivers said.

Rivers has coached the Clippers since 2013, compiling an 887-654 record. He also served as president of basketball operations for three seasons before ceding those duties to Lawrence Frank in 2017.

The Clippers were 41-30 going into Tuesday night’s game against Indiana at Staples Center. They currently own the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth.

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