The LA Clippers and their head coach over the last seven seasons, Doc Rivers, are parting ways. ESPN Senior Insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news earlier yesterday:
Coach Doc Rivers is out with the Clippers, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 28, 2020
The 58-year-old was hired by the Clippers as a coach and general manager prior to the start of the 2013-14 season, then fresh off his nine-year tenure with the Boston Celtics. He relinquished his GM duties in 2017.
Rivers soon posted a statement via Twitter.
Rivers had a rocky stint with the Clipps. He was unable to led the team to a Conference Finals appearance and could only produce three playoff series wins from 2013 to 2020 – one in 2014 over the Golden State Warriors, one in 2015 over the San Antonio Spurs, and one this year over the Dallas Mavericks.
For context, the veteran coach has had multiple-time All-Stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard on his roster during his stay, as well as Sixth Man of the Year award winners Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell – that’s excluding the handful of veterans and heralded young talent he’s had.
As heavily talked about in the past week or so, Rivers also squandered two 3-1 series leads in his Clippers coaching career: 2015 vs. the Houston Rockets and 2020 vs. the Denver Nuggets. In the latter match-up, the Clipps blew a double-digit lead in three-straight games (16, 19, and 12) while they were one win away from advancing.
While the move is surprising, change is needed, and it might be telling as to how all-in the Clippers are to winning ASAP. Keep in mind that the franchise traded away two key rotation players and six first-round draft picks for George, who Leonard personally recruited prior to signing.
What’s next for Rivers?
The resume isn’t looking good, but there’s no denying that he has established respect among his peers. Rivers is a Xs and Os guy, who, despite lacking playoff success outside the Celtics’ title run, has developed a handful of players.
Reports about interest from other teams have already surfaced:
Look out for upcoming rumors about the Houston Rockets as well. Rivers and Rockets GM Daryl Morey and worked together in Boston, and it may be a place he’d prefer considering his son, Austin, is in the team.
What’s next for the Clippers?
The Clippers could be aiming to replace Rivers with one of his assistant coaches, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach, Tyronn Lue, who coached the Cavs in that epic 2016 championship run.
However, there have a bevy of options that are too good to pass up. The head coaching free agency pool has never been filled with this much talent in a very long time. It’s a list that includes offensive and defensive gurus, rising assistant coaches, and a bunch of under-the-radar names: Mike D’Antoni, Nate McMillian, Kenny Atkinson, Brett Brown, Jason Kidd, Sam Cassell, Mike Brown, Jacque Vaughn, Will Hardy, etc.
Whoever gets hired, this vacancy is sure to be another major storyline for the off-season. Let’s all tune in.