If Doc Rivers blows a fourth 3-1 lead, it won’t be with the Clippers. The team and coach confirmed that they were parting ways on Monday.
Rivers was bounced after a Nuggets team that had won three straight over the Clippers was dismissed in five comfortable games by the Lakers.
“When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination, and bring a championship to this organization,” Rivers said in a statement.
“While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won’t be able to see them all through.”
Rivers' Clippers, arguably the most loaded roster in the NBA, went up 3-1 against the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals. But even that doesn’t tell the full story of how humiliating their exit was: They were manhandling the Nuggets at halftime in all three of the decisive losses.
The Clippers under Rivers had previously blown a 3-1 lead in the West semis in 2015. They’re considering current Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy as replacements, according to ESPN.
There are several attractive NBA head coaching jobs open, and according to another ESPN report, the Pelicans and 76ers are both interested in hiring Rivers. Both teams had fired their own head coaches after years of frustrations crested with terrible performances in the bubble.
Rivers brought the Clippers instant credibility and stability, but zero trips to the conference finals. He survived the collapse of the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin teams; with only one year left on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s contracts, his time was finally up.
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