Doc Rivers Out as Coach of LA Clippers After 7 Seasons
Rivers lost a 3-1 series lead during the playoffs, the second time that happened in LA
Doc Rivers and the Clippers have agreed to part ways after seven seasons with the 58-year-old running the show in Los Angeles, ESPN reported.
The move, described as a “mutual decision” by team chairman Steve Ballmer, comes after Rivers and the team blew a 3-1 series lead in the playoffs, the second time LA did that with the veteran coach at the helm.
“Doc has been a terrific coach for the Clippers, an incredible ambassador, and a pillar of strength during tumultuous times,” Ballmer said in a statement Monday. “He won a heck of a lot of games and laid a foundation for this franchise.”
Before arriving in LA, Rivers previously lost a 3-1 lead in the postseason while he was coaching the Orlando Magic in 2003 and is the only coach in NBA history to blow such a sizable lead in the postseason three times.
Though the Clippers went 356-208 during the regular season under Rivers, they were 3-8 in potential series-clinching games under his watch, tied for the worst mark by a single coach with one team.
“Thank you Clipper Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in helping make this a winning franchise,” Rivers said in a statement posted to Twitter. “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. 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.”
Parting ways with Rivers is a potentially disastrous move, as both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become free agents next summer and leave the team if they so choose.
Knowing that, one would have to think Ballmer had the blessing of both players to part ways with Rivers, who had two years remaining on his contract, and will seek the input of both superstars before signing a new coach for the team.
“I am immeasurably grateful to Doc for his commitment and contributions to the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles,” Ballmer said. “I am also extremely confident in our front office and our players. We will find the right coach to lead us forward and help us reach our ultimate goals. We will begin the search and interview process immediately.”
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