According to a new report, the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans have apparently been in contact with veteran head coach Doc Rivers, mere hours after he confirmed that he has parted ways with the Los Angeles Clippers.
In a Twitter post shared on Monday night, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated wrote that per his sources, the two organizations “have reached out” to Rivers following his departure from the team he had coached for the past several seasons. The Sixers fired Brett Brown last month after the Boston Celtics swept Philadelphia in the first round of this year’s playoffs, while the Pelicans dismissed Alvin Gentry following a five-year stint where the organization qualified for postseason play just once.
You can view Spears’ tweet here.
As explained by Bleacher Report, Rivers has enjoyed a successful coaching career in the NBA that has also included stints with the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. With the Celtics, he won a league championship in 2008 and added a second Eastern Conference title to his resume two years later. Since his first head coaching job in 1999, the 58-year-old has compiled a regular-season record of 943-681.
Despite his many accomplishments, the outlet added that Rivers had a largely disappointing 2019-20 campaign with the Clippers — a team that was seemingly in “championship-or-bust mode” following the addition of superstar forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer of 2019. After holding a comfortable 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals, Los Angeles lost the last three games of the series, ending a postseason run that was allegedly marred by infighting and poor on-court chemistry.
According to Yahoo Sports‘ Chris Haynes, one such example of this infighting featured George and Montrezl Harrell getting into a “heated verbal exchange” during Game 2 of the Nuggets series, where both players blamed each other for a “careless” turnover. He did, however, note that at the time of reporting, Rivers was expected to return to Los Angeles for the 2020-21 season.
With Rivers’ stint with the Clippers now over, Bleacher Report noted that the 76ers and Pelicans offer two varying scenarios, assuming talks progress further and he accepts either job opening. With two of the NBA’s brightest young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia has emerged as a top team in the East but has repeatedly “fallen short” of actually contending for a conference title. The Pelicans, on the other hand, are a promising team with a young core that features Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Zion Williamson.
“Rivers would be the type of veteran coach with championship experience who could lead both teams to their next set of goals,” the publication concluded.