Doc Rivers is the one to fall on the sword.
The Philadelphia 76ers fired Rivers on Tuesday after three seasons as head coach just two days after an embarrassing exit from the playoffs. The 61-year-old led the Sixers into the second round in all of his seasons but never advanced into the Eastern Conference Finals.
“We’re grateful for all he did in his three seasons here and thank him for the important impact he made on our franchise,” team president Daryl Morey said in a statement. “After having the chance to reflect upon our season, we decided that certain changes are necessary to further our goals of competing for a championship.”
Rivers’ last act in charge of the 76ers was their disastrous 112-88 Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics which featured a historically bad 10-point third quarter that tied an NBA-shot clock era record for the fewest points scored in a postseason quarter. The loss was Rivers’ 10th Game 7 loss of his career which is five more than any other coach in NBA history.
The head coach said Sunday he expected to be back with two years remaining on his contract.
“Yeah. I think I got two years left. No one is safe in our business and I get that,” Rivers said.
The 76ers were 54-28 this season — owning the East’s No. 3 seed — and have experienced plenty of regular season success during Rivers’ tenure, however, they have not been able to get over the hump in the playoffs.
Rivers finishes with a 154-82 (.659) record as head coach in Philadelphia. The longtime bench boss joined the Sixers after seven seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Chicago native was named one of the 15 greatest coaches in NBA history in 2021-22 and has won one NBA championship (2007-2008 Celtics) in 24 seasons as a coach. Overall, he is 1,097-763 in his career that began in 1999-2000 as the head coach of the Orlando Magic, the season he won his one and only Coach of the Year award after his rookie season.
Now, James Harden and 2023 NBA MVP Joel Embiid’s squad are in the market for a new captain of the ship. Harden was asked after Sunday’s loss if he had a good relationship with Rivers and if he wanted him to remain the head coach.
Harden responded by saying their relationship is “OK,” however, he didn’t acknowledge the second part of the question. The 33-year-old averaged 21 points and a career-high 10.7 assists per game in his first full season with the Sixers after being traded from the Brooklyn Nets for Ben Simmons in February 2022.
The search for a head coach in Philadelphia already includes a big list of names. Mike Budenholzer, Sam Cassell, Mike D’Antoni, Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Monty Williams are all in the running to take over, according to ESPN
Budenholzer was just canned by the Milwaukee Bucks after their first-round loss as the No. 1 seed to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat — who eventually advanced into the Conference Finals for the third time in the last four seasons. The Phoenix Suns also just moved on from Williams after falling in the second round to the Denver Nuggets. D’Antoni is an interesting candidate as Harden had his 2018-19 MVP season — 36.1 points and 7.5 assists per game — under his system when he was the head coach of the Houston Rockets
The rest of the candidates also own head coaching experience with the exception of Cassell who has never received the chance to be at the helm.
Source: Berkshire mont
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