Days after a disappointing end to the 2020 campaign in the bubble, the Los Angeles Clippers will apparently head into an uncertain offseason looking for a new head coach.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that the Clippers had parted ways with Rivers, the longtime coach of the franchise after the team ended its 2020 campaign in the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Denver Nuggets.
Coach Doc Rivers is out with the Clippers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 28, 2020
Rivers would release a statement shortly after confirming the news and thanking the organization and the fans for his seven seasons in L.A.
— doc rivers (@DocRivers) September 28, 2020
The Clippers statement called it a “mutual decision” to part ways, with Steve Ballmer thanking Rivers for laying a foundation for the Clippers organization and doing tremendous work for the team during his tenure.
Clippers PR calling the split mutual between the team and Doc Rivers. pic.twitter.com/JxvOZkilvf
— Sabreena Merchant (@sabreenajm) September 28, 2020
That loss against the Nuggets came in particularly frustrating fashion, being the second straight team to lose to Denver while leading a series 3-1. The Nuggets faced a third straight 3-1 deficit in the conference finals, but the other team that calls Staples Center home was able to knock them off over the weekend and reach the NBA Finals.
Despite the early end for what many considered title favorites, the decision to move on from Rivers a year after acquiring both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard comes as a shock to many in the NBA. Rivers had been acquired by the Clippers himself from the Boston Celtics in 2013 and was instrumental in the team’s front office in a variety of ways over the years, serving as president of basketball operations for the team until 2017.
He is now, though, another NBA coach (maybe) looking for another job as the league heads toward its most belated and fascinating offseason in NBA history. Rivers also could choose to call it a career in coaching and return to TV where he spent a year with ABC as a game analyst between his Orlando and Boston coaching jobs. As for the Clippers job, it immediately becomes the most coveted on the market and one would assume assistant coach Tyronn Lue will be near the top of the candidate list.