NBA: Doc Rivers out as Clippers coach

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Sep 29 2020 06:48 AM

Doc Rivers and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer mutually agreed on Monday that Rivers would step down after seven seasons.

"Doc has been a terrific coach for the Clippers, an incredible ambassador, and a pillar of strength during tumultuous times," Ballmer said in a statement. "He won a heck of a lot of games and laid a foundation for this franchise."

Rivers' departure comes 13 days after the Clippers finished blowing a 3-1 lead in a Western Conference second-round series against the Denver Nuggets. Denver won the final three games.

"When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination, and bring a championship to this organization," Rivers said in a statement posted on Twitter. "While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won't be able to see them all through.

"Though it was a disappointing ending to our season ... I know what this team is capable of accomplishing."

Two teams with coaching openings, the New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers, have already reached out to Rivers, according to The Undefeated.

The Clippers were viewed as massive disappointments in the NBA playoffs due to the collapse against the Nuggets.

The final three setbacks were ugly as Los Angeles led by as many as 16, 19 and 12 points, respectively, in the losses.

The Clippers were forecasted to contend for the NBA title after landing All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer of 2019.

But the team was reportedly dealing with chemistry issues during their postseason stay at the "bubble" near Orlando. Veteran guard Lou Williams publicly cited the chemistry as an issue after the Game 7 loss to the Nuggets.

The Clippers had a 49-23 regular-season record and earned the No. 2 seed in the West.

Despite the disappointing conclusion to Rivers' tenure, Ballmer reiterated his appreciation for the outgoing coach and excitement over moving forward with a new head man.

"I am immeasurably grateful to Doc for his commitment and contributions to the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles," Ballmer said. "I am also extremely confident in our front office and our players. We will find the right coach to lead us forward and help us reach our ultimate goals. We will begin the search and interview process immediately."

Rivers, who turns 59 on Oct. 13, has a 943-681 record in 21 seasons as an NBA coach. The victories rank 11th all-time. He also won the 2008 NBA title with the Boston Celtics.

Rivers compiled a 356-208 mark during the seven seasons with the Clippers. The team made six playoff appearances.

Rivers began his coaching career with the Orlando Magic (1999-2004) before his stints with the Celtics (2004-13) and Clippers.

--Field Level Media