After a season of living up to expectations, the Philadelphia 76ers have found their next head coach, hiring former Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, after a “quick court and negotiation”, says ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the two sides had agreed to a five-year deal
According to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice, Rivers will have no front office responsibilities under the deal and will instead just be the head coach
It comes after the 76ers sacked Brett Brown after their first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics Wojnarowski noted that the sacking was “supposed to be a harbinger of more upheaval for the 76ers, including senior management – y including Managing Director Elton Brand – will start exploring changes in the front office structure”
It wasn’t long before Philadelphia was associated with a number of big name names as well, as Charania reported that Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue, Villanova head coach Jay Wright and 76ers assistant coach Ime Udoka were “among the early contenders”
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that “Mike Brown, Golden State Warriors associate head coach, could also be in.” Wojnarowski noted that Mike D’Antoni was also a candidate after telling the Houston Rockets he was not coming back
Marc J Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated reported that Philadelphia also contacted Rivers after splitting from the Clippers
Rivers has emerged from this list and now faces the task of turning the franchise around following back-to-back playoff disappointments
Philadelphia was on the list of realistic contenders for the NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference ahead of the 2018-19 campaign with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick, only to then lose to to the future champion of the Toronto Raptors in the second round
As the 76ers lost Butler and Redick in the ensuing offseason, they added Al Horford and re-signed Harris
Rather than compete for a championship, however, they struggled with consistency and went 43-30 on the way to the No 6 seed in the East Without a healthy Simmons, Philadelphia was swept away by the Celtics in the first round
Lue wasn’t a surprising candidate following this playoff outing, as he has a championship pedigree from his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers He led LeBron James and Co to claim a campaign title 2015-16 and then helped them reach the NBA Finals the next two seasons
Brown also has experience coaching the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals He led Cleveland to the 2007 NBA Finals and finished his six seasons as the team’s head coach with a file 305-187 He also coached the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12 and five games in 2012-13, finishing 42-29
Still, it was Wright who was arguably the most intriguing candidate, as he never coached at the NBA level despite a successful college career, although he quickly retired from racing.
He finished 122-85 with two NCAA tournament appearances in seven seasons at Hofstra, then took over Villanova before the 2001-02 campaign. He is 472-182 with the Wildcats and has a resume that includes two National titles, three Final Fours, two Naismith Coach of the Year awards and six Big East Coach of the Year awards.
However, it will be Rivers tasked with leading the 76ers past the second round of the playoffs for the first time since reaching the 2001 NBA Finals.
This will require finding ways to maximize the Simmons-Embiid combination while finding the right parts to fit around them in crisp rotations. Brett Brown couldn’t do it fully during the 2019-20 season, and it will be quite a challenge for the team’s new coach.
Rivers worked a remarkable combination last season with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George over the Clippers but, like Philadelphia, couldn’t get over the playoff bump. These Clippers took a 3-1 lead in the second round against the Denver Nuggets, failing to meet massive expectations
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Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Head Coach, Boston Celtics, Tyronn Lue
EbeneNews – AU – Doc Rivers to agree with 76ers as next team head coach