Doc Rivers has reached agreement on a five-year deal to become the next coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.
His deal with the Sixers comes only three days after he parted with the LA Clippers.
Sixers general manager Elton Brand on Monday reached out to Rivers and his agent, Lonnie Cooper, to gauge interest in the Sixers job. Rivers soon was on a flight to Philadelphia, where meetings on Wednesday with Brand, owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer had the sides moving quickly toward negotiating a multiyear deal.
Each NBA team that hired Doc Rivers as its coach saw an increase in their win total in his first season there. The Philadelphia 76ers went 43-30 this season. losing to the Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Rivers takes over a Sixers team that lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and continues to consider changes to a roster that Brand remains determined to construct around All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
There’s also hope that a reunion with Rivers can be impactful to forward Tobias Harris maximizing his play with the Sixers. Before the Clippers traded Harris to the Sixers in February 2019, Harris was having his best NBA season under Rivers — averaging 20.9 points on 50% shooting from the field and 43% from the 3-point line.
Rivers was a late entry into a process that had become increasingly focused on former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni.
Rivers had been intrigued enough with the roster, marketplace and organization to fly from the West Coast to sit down with Philadelphia’s hierarchy.
He succeeds Brett Brown, who had the job for seven seasons but was fired after the 76ers were swept by Boston in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Philadelphia hasn’t won an NBA championship since 1983.
Embiid welcomed Rivers on Twitter, saying he was “excited for the future and what we’re building here.”
Rivers, 58, had two years left on his Clippers contract, sources said, so he remains owed a significant sum of money, although typically there are offset agreements on the payout put into place should a coach be hired in a new job.
In Rivers’ seven seasons at the helm, the Clippers went 356-208, winning 63.1% of their regular-season games — the fifth-best record in the NBA and the best by any team without a conference finals appearance.
The Clippers went 49-23 during this regular season, the fourth-best record in franchise history, but they squandered a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets, surrendering leads of 16, 19 and 12 points as the franchise’s Western Conference finals drought reached 50 years.
That sure was a fast transition1