Report: Doc Rivers was advised against joining Lakers because LeBron James doesn’t want to be coached

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

Doc Rivers shot down rumors of defecting to the Lakers and said he agreed to a contract extension with the Clippers. Rivers focused on why he likes coaching the Clippers.

But maybe something about the Lakers also turned him off.

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Michael Wilbon on ESPN:

There are people in southern California right in that environment telling Doc, “You don’t want do this.” And one of those reasons is simply LeBron James. He’s been told by people – and I know this – LeBron doesn’t want to be coached.

Don’t get it twisted: Just because people warned Rivers about coaching LeBron doesn’t mean Rivers wanted to avoid coaching LeBron. Not all advice is heeded.

Coaching LeBron is tricky.

He’s an incredibly smart player who’s comfortable asserting himself. He attracts drama, including the perception he serves as de facto coach. His presence raises pressure and expectation.

But LeBron is also one of the NBA’s best players. He offers a path to championship contention. Coaches generally win at a far higher level with him.

Rivers has dealt with plenty of difficult players, including Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. I doubt Rivers is scared off by LeBron.

I also think the idea LeBron doesn’t want to be coached is wrong. LeBron is the most important person on all his teams. There’s no getting around that. His coach must work with him, not above him. That’s not the traditional power structure, but LeBron developed productive partnerships with Tyronn Lue and Erik Spoelstra. It can work, as long as the coach doesn’t try to posture as LeBron’s boss. The coach works for LeBron far more than LeBron works for the coach. That’s OK.

And Rivers is OK staying with the Clippers, surely for numerous reasons.

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