Report: Pelicans, 76ers reach out to Doc Rivers shortly after Clippers separation

Jason Owens
·2 min read

The Los Angeles Clippers shocked the NBA on Monday by parting ways with longtime head coach Doc Rivers.

There stands a decent chance the NBA coaching veteran won’t be out of work for long. According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, both the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans reached out to Rivers within an hour of the news breaking.

‘Mutual’ separation with Clippers

Rivers, 58, coached the Clippers for seven seasons and has been a head coach in the NBA since 1999 when he started his coaching career with the Orlando Magic. In between, he coached the Boston Celtics for nine seasons, leading them to the 2008 NBA championship.

The Clippers described the separation on Monday as “mutual.” The parting occurred after the Clippers lost in the second round of the NBA playoffs to the Denver Nuggets to stand alongside the Milwaukee Bucks as the biggest disappointments of the postseason.

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers in the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Denver. The Clippers prevailed 122-120. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers in the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Denver. The Clippers prevailed 122-120. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Disappointing finish for Clippers

The Clippers were on a short list of favorites to win the NBA championship and instead blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. There were reports during and after the season of discord within the Clippers locker room.

The loss to the Nuggets marked the second time the Clippers lost a playoff series they led 3-1 under Rivers. The Houston Rockets rallied to beat the Clippers in the 2015 conference semifinals after trailing 3-1.

Rivers a top coaching candidate

Despite the rough ending in Los Angeles, Rivers immediately becomes a top candidate for NBA openings. The former NBA point guard is well regarded as a coach and a person in NBA circles. His leadership within the NBA bubble on social and racial justice issues resonates with players.

Both the 76ers and Pelicans jobs are attractive openings with young talent already in place. The 76ers boast 26-year-old Joel Embiid and 24-year-old Ben Simmons and seek to take the next step after failing to advance past the second round of the playoffs with their young core.

The New Orleans Pelicans are preparing to embark on their first full season featuring Zion Williamson alongside emerging first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram.

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