Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported major news one day after the NBA Finals were set. The Los Angeles Clippers and Doc Rivers have agreed to part ways after their shortcomings during the playoffs.
Coach Doc Rivers is out with the Clippers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 28, 2020
This may be surprising to some, because Rivers is considered one of the elite head coaches in the NBA. But after another disappointing year for the Clippers, Rivers was given the blame. Since being traded to the Clippers in 2013 from the Boston Celtics, he was believed to be the final piece to get a hopefully Clippers team to the next level.
Rivers has coached star players like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Paul Pierce, J.J. Reddick, Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George during his time with the Clippers and cannot reach the conference finals.
This year may have been the most disappointing because on paper the Clippers were not only the best roster in the league but could have had the best defense in the league. Instead the Clippers planned to take it easy during the regular season practicing load management frequently and never reached their full potential as a team. However the Clippers did finish with a 49-23 regular season record which was good for second in the Western Conference and fourth in the entire league.
Once the playoffs came about many thought that the Clippers would be able to flip the switch and become the team many thought they were. But instead they played subpar overall. The Clippers applied the heat on the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs after going down 2-1. The series may have been closer or went the other way if not for Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Donic injuries. In the following series the Clippers got a 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets, but gave up a 16 point lead late in game five, a 19 point lead late in game six, and played atrocious late in game seven. It was considered one of the biggest upsets in NBA History.
However besides his teams recent failures, Rivers is still considered one of the leagues best coaches. Rivers played in the NBA from 1983-1996 but made his coaching debut shortly afterwards in 1999 with the Orlando Magic. Rivers won the coach of the year award in 2000. However Rivers was fired in 2003 and joined the Boston Celtics in 2004. Here is where Rivers built one of the better teams in NBA History assembling the big 4 of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo. Rivers and those players were the biggest reasons why the Celtics won the NBA Championship in 2008. Once the older Celtic players reached a decline the team blew up trading away the aging stars including sending Rivers to Los Angeles. Rivers career record is 943-681. During his time in Los Angeles, Rivers went 356-208.
Wojnarowski has thrown out the names of Clippers assistant Tyron Lue and former Knicks & Rockets coach now commentator at ESPN Jeff Van Bundy as possible replacements for Rivers in Los Angeles. While Rivers has already received interest by the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans who are both trying to fill their coaching vacancies. This is according to ESPN’s Marc J Spears.