A somewhat unexpected name hit the NBA's head coaching market on Monday night. The Clippers have fired Doc Rivers, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Rivers later released a statement thanking Clipper Nation.
After acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the offseason, the Clippers collapsed in the Western Conference semifinals, blowing a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets. Rivers coached seven years in Los Angeles, his third stop as a head coach following stints with the Celtics and Magic. He won an NBA title with Boston's "Big 3" of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2008 and sports a 943-681 record as an NBA head coach.
The Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner named Jeff Van Gundy and Tyronn Lue, Rivers' lead assistant this past season, as "names that will come up to replace" Rivers. Multiple reports have listed Lue as a candidate for the Sixers job, along with Mike D'Antoni.
Rivers' availability puts the Sixers in an interesting position. At a minimum, it seems worth gauging whether he's open to the possibility of replacing Brett Brown, whom the Sixers fired on Aug. 24 after being swept by the Celtics in the first round. The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reports that the Sixers have indeed reached out to Rivers already.
Though Rivers never advanced beyond the second round with the Clippers and the final impression of his stay there will be his team's seeming numbness as its season slipped away, coaches with Rivers' credentials don't become available often. He's played 13 NBA seasons, coached in 21, dealt with a wide range of personalities and stars and won a championship.
Along with the Sixers and Clippers, the Rockets, Pacers, Pelicans and Thunder have head coaching vacancies.