Doc Rivers insisted Saturday that his immediate future doesn’t have him departing the Clippers and bound for the Orlando Magic.
Rivers was responding to questions about a report that had him perhaps leaving his role as coach and president of basketball operations with the Clippers to take a front-office position with the Magic.
The rumors have persisted the last several weeks, a couple of NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter told The Times on Saturday, because the strong belief is that Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan and the team’s assistant general manager, Scott Perry, are on the hot seat and are likely to be dismissed when the season is over.
And Rivers’ first coaching job in the NBA was with the Orlando Magic, from 1999 until he was fired early in the 2003-04 season.
“I can tell you I had a past with the Magic,” Rivers said. “I have no future. My future is here.”
Rivers is in the third year of a five-year deal worth in excess of $50 million that he was given by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer to serve in his dual role of coach and president after helping guide the team through the fiasco surrounding the end of Donald Sterling’s ownership of the team.
Though Rivers denied anything was happening with him and the Magic, two league executives had the same thing to share. “We’ve heard that Magic thing, too,” the executives said.
Rivers and the Clippers are at a very stressful point in the season, having gone 5-8 in their last 13 games before playing the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers haven’t gotten past the second round of the NBA playoffs in Rivers’ first three seasons and the pressure is mounting on this team to at least get to the Western Conference finals.
And when the season is over, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are expected to opt out of their contracts for the 2017-18 season and become unrestricted free agents seeking more long-term, lucrative deals.
Guard J.J. Redick also will be a free agent who might be too costly for the Clippers to re-sign.
“I want to make this a place where it’s a pride of place,” Rivers said. “I haven’t accomplished that yet. And that’s my goal. That drives me, to make this a destination that people want to come to and you have pride in. I think we’ve improved it greatly, but it’s still not. … I haven’t reached my goal at all, and I’m fully aware of that.”
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner