Doc Rivers wasn’t unemployed very long.
Just three days after he was dumped by the Clippers, the veteran agreed to coach the 76ers, according to ESPN. Rivers, who won a title 13 years ago while coaching the Celtics, is joining a team with two young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but without an identity or cohesion.
Rivers reportedly interviewed with Sixers GM Elton Brand on Wednesday, and settled on terms a day later. Philadelphia had also interviewed Tyronn Lue, an assistant with the Clippers, and former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Like Rivers' previous team in L.A., the Sixers underachieved in the playoffs. They were bounced in the first round, costing Brett Brown, the coach in Philly for seven seasons, his job.
Rivers was also canned following the Clippers' elimination to the Nuggets in the Western Conference semis. It was the third time in Rivers' coaching career his team blew a 3-1 lead in a series.
The playoff collapses aside, Rivers brings an established reputation, a championship ring and should command respect from the Sixers stars. The franchise tanked away four seasons to accumulate assets for a championship run, but the returns have been underwhelming. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor were wasted drafted picks early in “The Process.” The biggest free agent signings of Al Horford and Tobias Harris haven’t been worth their massive salaries. Embiid and Simmons, while certainly talented, were still taking turns last season.
The peak was reaching Game 7 of the 2019 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Raptors, but then the Sixers allowed Jimmy Butler to leave in free agency and were swept by the Celtics this year.
Rivers, 58, who still has two years left on his deal with the Clippers, has been coaching for the last 20 seasons in Orlando, Boston and L.A. He helped raise the Clippers into respectability after decades of Donald Sterling-run slop, but could never reach the conference finals.
This year the expectations were highest after L.A. acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. But chemistry and dedication issues infiltrated the roster, and Rivers couldn’t survive another early ouster.
The Sixers were reportedly focused on hiring D’Antoni before Rivers became available.
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