Doc Rivers is no longer the Los Angeles Clippers’ head coach. If he wants to get straight back into coaching, he’ll have his fair share of interest from around the NBA.
Doc posted the following statement on Twitter shortly after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news.
Doc certainly has his flaws. For one, he was out-coached in the playoffs this year and hasn’t always made timely in-game or game-to-game adjustments when necessary. But he’s still a good coach. His leadership and proven ability to manage egos stands out. Plus, he’s shown that he can get creative from a tactical standpoint and get consistent high effort from his players, especially with the Clippers in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (this was probably his best coaching stretch in L.A.). These teams lacked star power (except for 33 games of Blake Griffin in 2017-18), yet his younger, scrappy 2018-19 squad in particular overachieved with 48 wins in the regular season, two in the first round of the playoffs against Golden State, and ranked 9th in offensive rating.
Doc’s availability will have an impact on the coaching market and the Sixers’ search. As Adrian Wojnarowski has reported, one of the Sixers’ main candidates and current Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue is now one of the top candidates to take over from Doc, along with a far more surprising name: Jeff Van Gundy.
Doc Rivers had two years left on his contract, sources tell ESPN. This is a challenging coaching search for Clippers, who are the ultimate win-now team. Among top candidates in the marketplace: Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Rockets and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy. https://t.co/Ov02RYNbK9— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 28, 2020
If Lue is ultimately offered the Clippers job, it’s hard to see him turning it down. He’s already established as the lead assistant there, has relationships with the players, and has a higher ceiling with the talent assembled in L.A. than the Sixers do with how flawed their roster is as currently constructed. Not to mention the fact that the Sixers’ front office is still in such an uncertain state — there still haven’t been any much-needed changes since the end of the season except Elton Brand taking on more responsibility.
Furthermore, if Mike D’Antoni emerges as someone the Clippers are interested in, it’s hard to see him choosing the Sixers over all of the creative talent in L.A.
For now at least, Brand is “pushing hard” for the Sixers to hire D’Antoni, Joel Embiid has given his blessing, and D’Antoni is already well regarded in Philly as someone ownership and members of the front office have been interested in before. Lue has fallen behind D’Antoni as the Sixers’ search has continued, but is still scheduled to interview for the job on Tuesday.
If Lue ends up getting a promotion in L.A., will the Sixers stay focused on D’Antoni, or shift their attention to Doc? The former seems more likely if D’Antoni is interested, but it will be interesting to see how the coaching market develops in the coming days.