Just three days after Doc Rivers parted ways with the Los Angeles Clippers, the 58-year-old may already be on the verge of landing his next head coaching job. Per a report from The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey on Thursday, he is now the leading candidate to take over on the sidelines for the Philadelphia 76ers and a deal “could be imminent.”
Citing NBA sources, Pompey further shared the belief that the job is Rivers’ to turn down at this point.
The former Clippers headman interviewed with the 76ers on Wednesday and reportedly remained in the company of team ownership to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals later that night. One of Pompey’s sources said that Rivers wouldn’t be leaving town without a contract offer. Meanwhile, another said they expect that the franchise will eventually announce Rivers as its next coach.
Rivers led L.A. to a 49-23 record this past season, which was good for a winning percentage of 68.1 percent, as well as a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff bracket. However, after dispatching the Dallas Mavericks in six games during the first round of postseason play, his club gave up a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in Round 2, eventually ceding the conference semifinal to the underdog squad in Game 7.
It was considered a disappointing result for a franchise that had made major roster moves during the previous offseason, adding All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the team.
Nevertheless, Rivers remains one of the most successful coaches in the NBA, boasting a record of 943-681 over 21 seasons with three different teams. In 2008, he won a championship with the Boston Celtics after compiling a 66-16 record during the regular season.
As shared previously by The Inquisitr, the New Orleans Pelicans join the 76ers in having reached out to Rivers. However, the Sixers job would afford Rivers the chance to take over a winning club anchored by a pair of young All-Stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
In 2019-20, the Sixers finished with the sixth-best mark in the Eastern Conference at 43-30 before getting swept in the playoffs at the hands of the Celtics. Shortly thereafter, the team ousted head coach Brett Brown despite the fact that he had directed Philadelphia to three straight playoff berths and multiple series wins.
The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni — who had been considered the frontrunner before Rivers became available — is still technically in the running.