He Philadelphia 76ers fired coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday following a third straight exit in the second round of the playoffs.

“Doc is one of the most successful trainers in nba history, a future Hall of Famer and someone I respect immensely,” 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said in a statement. “We are grateful for all that he has done in his three seasons here and we thank him for the significant impact he has made on our franchise. After having the opportunity to reflect on our season, we decided that certain changes are necessary to advance our goals of competing for a championship.”

Rivers led the 76ers to their second straight 50-win season behind NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, but again failed to lead them to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 76ers held a 3-2 lead in the semifinal series against Boston before losing Game 6 at home and they were crushed in Game 7 on the road.

Rivers fell to 6-10 in Game 7. The 10 losses is five more than any other coach in the NBA.

Rivers and the 76ers also lost a deciding Game 7 at home in the second round to Atlanta in 2021 as the No. 1 seed. Embiid backed Rivers’ return after Sunday’s loss, but James Harden was noncommittal about wanting him back. .

Rivers had two years left on his contract and was 236-154 in three years with the Sixers. He won the 2008 NBA title as the coach of the Boston Celtics.

Asked after the 112-88 thrashing in Boston if he expected to return next year, Rivers said: “Yes. I think I have two years left. No one is safe in our business and I understand that.”

He’s just the latest big-name coach to be fired during the postseason and the 76ers are sure to have their pick of the best in the game. Nick Nurse (Toronto) and Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee) have been fired after both have won championships since 2019 and former Sixers assistant Monty Williams, who coached Phoenix in the 2021 NBA Finals, is also available.

Rivers took over before the 2020-21 season to replace Brett Brown, who was fired after the 76ers were swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Rivers himself had just been fired about two weeks after the Los Angeles Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead and fell to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.

He had hoped to coach a 76ers team seemingly on the brink of winning a title. Instead, he was on the bench for one of the worst losses in team history, a franchise-changing loss to Atlanta in Game 7 that came on the heels of Ben Simmons failing to hit an uncontested shot, which went wide. It became a loss and the end. of the All-Star guard’s tenure in Philadelphia. Simmons never played for the 76ers again after Rivers and Embiid failed to publicly endorse the star following the loss, and the relationship soured from there.

Simmons was traded a year later for Harden, who was expected to serve as the missing piece that could give Embiid a championship. Or at least to the conference final.

Asked after the Game 7 loss against Boston to describe his relationship with Rivers and whether he would like his coach to return for a fourth season, Harden said “our relationship is fine” and did not answer the second part of the question. .

Now, it doesn’t matter.

But another intriguing potential candidate to consider is former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni coached Harden for four seasons in Houston, and both thrived there working under current 76ers president Morey. Morey has been a staunch defender of Harden and worked hard to bring him to the 76ers. Without Rivers, another reunion could be on the horizon.


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