Wizards

Clippers, head coach Doc Rivers part ways

Wizards

The Los Angeles Clippers have let go of head coach Doc Rivers, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported.

Rivers took to Twitter to release a statement, thanking the organization for all the opportunities.

"Thank you Clippers Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all the support in helping make this a winning franchise. 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. "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, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support."

The news is a somewhat shocking consequence of the fallout in Los Angeles following the Clippers' departure from the NBA playoffs. A heavy championship favorite coming into the season and entering the postseason due to the acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Despite compiling a 49-23 regular-season record in 2019-20 and earning the No. 2 seed in the conference, the Clippers did not live up to the expectations set after the franchise went all-in last offseason.

Rivers spent sevens seasons as the head coach of the Clippers and held a 356-208 regular-season record, accomplishing most of the goals he laid out. Los Angeles appeared in the playoffs in six of the seven seasons Rivers was at the helm, but failed to ever make it past the conference semifinals.

 

Prior to his time with the Clippers, Rivers was the longtime head coach of the Boston Celtics, where he helped the team capture an NBA Finals title in 2008. Before that, he broke into the head coaching business with the Orlando Magic in 1999.

A talented and experienced head coach, it wouldn't be surprising to see Rivers remain in the league with another team. The Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers, both teams with championship expectations, could look to Rivers. Young but exciting teams like the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder could do the same.

As for the Clippers, it's unclear where they go from here. It will be hard to find another head coach with the experience and ability to handle the massive star power the roster contains. Wojnarowski reported that Clippers assistant and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Ty Lue, as well as former NBA head coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, are among the favorites for the opening. 

A huge move within the league, it is obvious that Los Angeles is searching for something new as it enters another crucial season within its championship window.