Sixers Hire Doc Rivers As Head Coach

OCTOBER 3: The Sixers have made the hiring of Doc Rivers as the team’s new head coach official, announcing the move today in a press release.

“We are thrilled to welcome Doc Rivers to Philadelphia as the new head coach of the 76ers,” Sixers general manager Elton Brand said. “Doc is one of the most respected and accomplished head coaches in the NBA,” Brand said. “I believe Doc can help us unlock our full potential on the floor and further our pursuit of an NBA championship. I also respect and appreciate that his impact extends far beyond the basketball court as he truly embraces the platform he has to drive positive change in society. Doc is a great fit for our team and city, and I’m excited for what the future holds with him as our head coach.” 

For his part, Rivers expressed excitement with joining Philadelphia, marking his newest coaching opportunity since he parted ways with the Clippers after another early postseason exit.

“I am really excited about the opportunity to be joining a world-class franchise, a franchise whose legend inspired my nickname,” Rivers said. “This is a city that loves sports and loves their teams. It’s a city that values hard work and that is exactly what we are going to do and who we are going to be. We are ready to do good things in Philadelphia.”  

OCTOBER 1, 5:21 : The Sixers and Rivers agreed to a five-year contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

OCTOBER 1, 4:41pm: Just three days after word broke that he was parting ways with the Clippers, Doc Rivers has reached an agreement to become the new head coach of the Sixers, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Rivers will take over on the 76ers’ bench following the team’s August dismissal of Brett Brown, who had been the head coach in Philadelphia for the last seven seasons. Rivers spent those same seven years in Los Angeles, leading the Clippers to a 356-208 (.631) record during that time, including six playoff berths and three postseason series wins.

After a heavily favored Clippers team blew a 3-1 lead over Denver in the second round of this year’s playoffs, Rivers and team owner Steve Ballmer had multiple meetings and ultimately decided not to continue their relationship.

Rivers’ availability upended the Sixers’ in-progress coaching search, which at that point was reportedly between Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue, with D’Antoni widely believed to be the frontrunner. The club quickly reached out to Rivers and got him to Philadelphia for an interview on Wednesday, at which point he supplanted D’Antoni as the favorite for the job.

Rivers – who was intrigued by Philadelphia’s roster, marketplace, and organization, per Wojnarowski – “connected quickly” with general manager Elton Brand and the 76ers’ ownership group during Wednesday’s meetings, according to Woj (Twitter link), who says the former Clippers coach is signing a multiyear deal. According to Jason Dumas of KRON4 News (Twitter link), Sixers ownership had initially wanted D’Antoni while Brand preferred Lue — Rivers represented a candidate that both sides agreed upon.

With two years still left on his contract with the Clippers when he was let go, Rivers didn’t necessarily have to rush into a new coaching job, but the fact that he only took about 72 hours to find a new NBA home suggests he had no desire to take any time off. The 2020/21 season will represent Rivers’ 22nd consecutive year in an NBA head coaching position — he coached the Celtics and Magic before arriving in L.A. in 2013.

In Philadelphia, Rivers will be tasked with taking an underachieving Sixers roster to the next level after the club was eliminated from the playoffs in just four games this summer. He’ll also have to determine how best to unlock the full potential of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, whose offensive games haven’t always meshed smoothly in recent years.

Meanwhile, having been beaten out by Rivers for the Philadelphia job, D’Antoni and Lue will remain on the head coaching market, with five job openings still available. D’Antoni has been linked to the jobs in New Orleans and Indiana, while Lue is expected to meet with the Pelicans and Rockets and has been cited as the potential frontrunner to replace Rivers with the Clippers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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62 thoughts on “Sixers Hire Doc Rivers As Head Coach

    • Reflect

      The process worked great. The failure was the next guy who burned all the hard work with some bad trades and signings.

      • hiflew

        No it didn’t. They had a 40% success rate on top 6 picks (Simmons, Embiid good, Okafor, Noel, Fultz bad) like 3 years after they were picked. Hinkie gets way too much credit for hard work. He was not trying at all and throwing darts blindfolded and accidentally getting a couple of good scores. Most overrated executive of all time.

        • I give no fox

          The process absolutely worked. The goal
          was to get stars, and they landed two. None of those players are on the team if they didn’t tear it all down. Fultz wasn’t a Hinkie pick, but he was clearly a top talent in the draft and was widely considered the top player. Okafor turned out to be bad but was also drafted where expected. The only alternative there would have been KP but he didn’t want to come to philly. Noel wasn’t even a top 5 pick, plenty of those wash out. Regardless, getting simmons and embiid made the process worth it

          • imindless

            The definition of “Star” must be lose these days. Simmons isn’t a Star embiid is but is injury prone. Sixers aren’t winning a thing with this moron at the helm. Literally had the best team in west and choked a 3-1 lead lol

          • hiflew

            I know Noel wasn’t a top 5 pick. He was drafted all the way down at #6. Quite possibly the furthest thing from a top 5 pick ever. I can’t believe I called him a top 5 pick.

            Except I didn’t. I said top 6.

            If the goal was to get 2 stars out of 5 top 6 picks, then the goal should have been amended. That’s like having a goal of winning rock, paper, scissors one out of every three times. ANYBODY with 5 top 6 picks in a row will likely get 2 players with a similar output of Embiid and Simmons.

            • The Howler

              In the drafts from 2000-2015, 30 out of 96 draftees taken with the top 6 picks played in at least 1 All Star game. 30 players in 16 seasons is about 2 per year or about the average chance of winning rock-paper-scissors. Here they are by year (# times all star):
              00-Kenyon Martin (1)
              01- Pau (6); Tyson Chandler (1)
              02-Yao (8)
              03-LBJ (16); Carmelo (10); Bosh (11); Wade (13); Caveman Kaman (1)
              04-Howard (8); Devin Harris (1)
              05-Deron Williams (3); CP3 (10)
              06-LaMarcus (7); Brandon Roy (3)
              07-KD (10); Horford (5)
              08-DRose (3); Westbrook (9); Love (5)
              09-Blake (6); Harden (8)
              10-Wall (5); Boogie (4)
              11-Kyrie (6)
              12-AD (7); Beal (2); Dame (5)
              13-Victor (2)
              14-Embiid (3)
              15-KAT (2); Russell (1); Porzingis (1)

              • The Howler

                I guess the point is that the process was not a genius move it just played the odds and succeeded at the expected rate.

              • hiflew

                There are a few on that list that I don’t know if I would consider them stars as much as one season wonders. It’s kind of hard to really consider Devin Harris a star at any time. Kaman as well. Russell is also stretching it a bit, although he still has time to improve.

                But there are a few that have not made the All Star team and weren’t listed like Jason Richardson, Mike Conley, Danilo Gallinari, Ricky Rubio, and Derrick Favors and maybe a handful of others that I would consider at the very least short term stars. Some of these guys would have easily made a couple of All Star teams if they played for bigger markets or better teams. I wouldn’t put the total number over maybe 40 or so.

    • GoLandCrabs

      The process was fine but the next step which is to win has been a failure

      • I give no fox

        This is accurate. It’s like inheriting a bunch of money from an uncle you never met, only to turn around and use that money to buy a bag of magic beans

        • phillyballers

          I started with a thumb tac, and traded my way to a telescope. But in a way, the most vauable thing here wasnt the telescope at all. No, it was the packet of beans, and I traded the telescope for it, and I can just go buy another telescope.

    • DeathbyDeathwest

      It’ll be a “failure” the same day Doc is fired while under contract. 2-3 years from now if they’re hanging on to Embiid AND Simmons. If they do trade Embiid, Simmons /is/ “the process,” and it continues for 4-5 more years, when Doc is fired or not retained, or “mutually departs” – right around when Simmons will also depart.

  1. harden-westbrook-mvps

    It’s certainly a much better choice than D’Antoni would have been.

  2. Sillivan

    Congra to Doc Rivers

    4 teams are not allowed to sign and trade players due to hardcap.
    The Signing teams are hardcapped.

    • I give no fox

      What happened to your sources that said the Sixers weren’t going to spend on a coach?

      • Sillivan

        3 weeks ago I read that the budget for 76ers head coach is 3 million or under a year.
        Then the Bulls offer Donovan 6M a year, they do the same,

    • Great hire if you like exactly where you are right now.. second round exits. Fantastic hire. Great with the Press, players generally like him. I guess you’re not into championships. That’s fine, role with the crowd. Yay sports !!

  3. Reflect

    I actually think D’Antoni is a better coach than Doc Rivers. Both are very bad though, and both are worse than Brett Brown or Lue or all these other random people.

    • Sillivan

      Mike Dantoni 4 playoffs years with Suns
      Regular season 232-96
      136 wins over .500
      Suns Playoffs – same 4 years
      1 win over .500
      The biggest playoffs underachiever in the nba history

      Doc Rivers 7 years with Clippers
      more losses than wins

      • The Howler

        63% win in reg. season…50% in post (32-32)

        With Conference #1 seeds:
        74% reg season…56% in post (23-18)

        • HailRodgers12$

          How many current or recent head coaches have been “successful” in the playoffs?

          Just guessing since I haven’t looked it up, but I suspect not very many. I’d say Kerr and Pop off the top of my head…

  4. bradculen

    Rivers is over hyped. He has coached some very talented teams but only has one title to show for it. Don’t really see a championship in Philly’s near future.

  5. Nice to see Doc back in the east. I think now that the sixers got their coach. They have improve it roster, get rib of Horford large contract and then sign some 3 point shooters to surround ben Simmons and Joel Embild.

    • qbert1996

      Or get rid of Simmons or Embiid because clearly they don’t work well together. What more do people need to see?

  6. OCTraveler

    And the merry-go-round of one team firing and another team hiring a coaching retread continues while so many quality assistant coaches wait for a chance.

    Why not consider Steve Clifford, Nate Tibetts, or Mark Malone or even someone from the college ranks like Shaka Smart, Greg Marshall, or Kevin Ollie?

    • I give no fox

      Well, steve Clifford is coaching the magic so…there’s that. Not sure who Mark Malone is, but if you mean Mike, he is currently coach of the nuggets. I would hardly call rivers a retread. Retreads aren’t winning coaches who spend several years in an organization. I don’t think you can trust a college coach that isn’t able to win consistently in the ncaa to lead a team with title aspirations either. Smart has done nothing at Texas and Ollie is currently banned for ncaa rules violations. Not really cream of the crop.

      • x%sure

        I would not say ‘retread’ is an insult, but might be meant as such by people who like to say it. Originally it just meant a new tread on a tire.
        Rivers is surely a retread but it’s best not to say that if one does not want to be said to be intending to insult. But that’s fine and fair with me.

        He’s awful. He will be telling Embiid to go ahead and start fights. But the best -performing mental mode for most people is not the fighting mode, even if going there makes the HC comfortable. I’m not sure a fighting mode is even best for fighting.

  7. implant

    Rivers has two separate groups of highly talented players and went nowhere. He could not get players to mesh, his teams had no chemistry. Basically the Lakers are everything his teams were not. And now we are recycling old coaches who blow. I feel bad for Sixer fans.

  8. Sillivan

    Rivers is correct
    76ers have a better future than Rockets
    Rockets have
    No draft picks
    No young players
    No commit to pay tax

  9. KnickerbockerAl

    Thought he’d take a yr off. Was getting paid to sit. It’s good Sixers made a quick move. DAntoni seemed like a better fit. Doc is a good coach. Sixers need a vet coach. All Sixers have to do is move Horford. Get deeper and they will be fine. Doc was a PG, a good one. I think he will try and get one.

    • Why sit with a bad taste in your mouth with this year’s flop? Let’s get back after it especially with a new five-year contract, wow. This guy knows how to interview. You can hear him with the Press he’s very talented and can talk his way out of anything.

      • hiflew

        Did Paul and Doc get along in LA? I thought Doc’s style and system was a big reason why CP3 wanted to be traded in the first place.

  10. phillyballers

    Hope people don’t think Doc will trade all their picks for Placebo P?

    Good hire regardless of 3-1 blown leads. He has been successful with different players, not just 1 type of player or the 2nd best player of all time.

    Don’t believe hell try to fix the Horford-Embiid experiment on the court. They’ll deal him and get a shooter. May still use Simmons as a PG, Rondo couldn’t shoot either. Couple vet min deals will probably happen bc he is the coach tho.

  11. davethemailman

    Doc Rivers is experienced and well respected. It is hard for me as an average fan and not an expert to rate how good a coach is. So many variables go into it. I believe that the Clippers were justified in letting him go, however. They have to try something different and it was such a letdown how they performed against Denver. It will be interesting for me to watch next season when the Sixers play the Clippers.

  12. hoosierhysteria

    If Rivers can’t get Simmons to shoot better…they are going no where. Can he get Embiid in shape? Dude is useless in 4th quarter. Injuries….you can’t control….but JE misses a lot of games.

  13. KnickerbockerAl

    Clippers loss was a big one. I’d be worried about PG nonchalant attitude. Not a good sign to me. I’d be pissed we didn’t get to Lakers. Up 3-1 . ..?????
    Sixers are not far away. But didn’t Doc trade Harris once ?? Looked up story that Harris had best yr under Doc. But Clippers had sights on Kawhi. Then went after PG. Obviously they didn’t think Harris was worth the money. And in Philly he hasn’t really showed he is. So maybe this reunion pays off for both he and Doc. Still they have to move Horford. He’s a bad mix in this. Still believe they don’t need to give him away. There is value out there. Even if it’s a three way deal.

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