Just when the Philadelphia 76ers’ head-coaching search was out of dimensions, another big one just entered the fold.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ decision to fire head coach Doc Rivers reverberated throughout the NBA but wasn’t necessarily surprising after blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.
Suddenly, one of the game’s most respected names is on the market, and the Sixers didn’t waste much time waiting to explore the options of bringing Rivers on, reaching out to him shortly after his dismissal in Los Angeles.
The 58-year-old has spent 21 seasons as an NBA head coach, sporting a 943-681 record with 16 playoff appearances, two Eastern Conference titles, and a 2008 NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics.
Such a resume would likely bring immediate stability to the Sixers’ bench, which hasn’t necessarily had that over the years during the Brett Brown regime.
Rivers has coached a variety of premier stars and their range of egos — and he’s mostly found success with most of them, whether its with Tracy McGrady, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George.
Such a track record suggests that he’d be able to handle the enigmatic personality of Joel Embiid while finding a way to get the best out of his partnership with Ben Simmons and garnering respect from every corner of the roster during the process.
He has already worked with Tobias Harris before the Clippers traded him to the Sixers, and it was a successful 87-game stint. The forward posted 20.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting 42.6% from three-point range.
The stability that Rivers could potentially bring to the Sixers’ bench could also extend to the front office. He has management experience, temporarily working as the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, and could develop into an invaluable advisor for general manager Elton Brand — who still needs to find the multiple, correct pieces for the 76ers’ championship puzzle.
It remains to be seen if Rivers is near the status of the favorite for the Sixers’ coaching job or if he surpassed former Houston Rockets boss Mike D’Antoni for it.
A report from Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday indicated that Brand is “pushing hard,” for D’Antoni to take over in Philadelphia.
Another notable name linked with the Sixers’ job, Ty Lue, could be developing as the favorite to take over in Los Angeles for Rivers. The former Cavaliers head coach was acting as an assistant under Rivers with the Clippers.