Philadelphia 76ers Fire Head Coach Doc Rivers

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Posted on: May 16, 2023, 11:34h. 

Last updated on: May 16, 2023, 12:43h.

The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers have dismissed head coach Doc Rivers after three seasons and three-straight disappointing exits in the second round of the postseason.

Doc Rivers
Head coach Doc Rivers argues a call while on the sidelines of a Philadelphia 76ers playoff game against the Boston Celtics. (Image: Getty)

Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse, and Mike D’Antoni are all on the shortlist of potential replacement candidates to become the new head coach of the 76ers.

The 76ers were eliminated from the 2023 NBA playoffs on Sunday when they lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics.

Before the start of the regular season, the 76ers were +1500 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA championship. They won 54 games and locked up the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. At the start of the postseason, the 76ers were +900 odds to win the title.

The 76ers swept the #6 Brooklyn Nets in the first round. In the second round against the #2 Celtics, the 76ers won Game 1 on the road in Boston. They won Game 4 at home and Game 5 in Boston, and seized a 3-2 series lead. The Celtics won the last two games in the series to knock out the 76ers and advance to the conference finals.

Rivers Couldn’t Get 76ers Over the Hump

Rivers spent nine years as the head coach of the Boston Celtics and led the team to a championship in the 2007-08 season. He guided them back to the NBA Finals in the 2009-10 season, but couldn’t secure another title.

During his tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers between 2013 and 2020, Rivers had several high-profile teams, including the high-flying “Lob City” group in the mid-2010s. Rivers failed to get Clippers past the Western Conference semifinals after several disappointing eliminations in the first or second round.

Rivers joined the 76ers in 2020 with a specific mandate: win a championship. He won 65.3% of his games and posted a 154-82 record in the regular season.

In his first season in Philadelphia, during a shortened 72-game season, Rivers led the 76ers to a 49-23 record. They secured the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the red-hot Atlanta Hawks upset the 76ers in the conference semifinals.

Last season, the 76ers won 51 games and headed into the playoffs as a #4 seed. Once again, the 76ers met their fate in the conference semifinals when the Miami Heat picked them off in six games.

For the third season in a row, the 76ers were eliminated in the second round. The 76ers squandered a 3-2 series lead against the Celtics and failed to deliver a knock-out blow at home in Game 6.

Rivers lost his fifth-straight Game 7. The heartbreaking loss also marked the 10th time in his career that one of his teams lost in Game 7.

In his three seasons with the 76ers, Rivers failed to deliver a championship. The team never even advanced to the Eastern Conference finals under his watch, which is why the 76ers fired him.

76ers Eying Budenholzer, Nurse, D’Antoni

Several noteworthy head coaches are available this offseason. After the 76ers fired Rivers, there are now no fewer than four available head coaches who previously won a championship.

Nick Nurse is currently on the shortlist for numerous jobs, including the Phoenix Suns and the 76ers. Nurse won a title with the Toronto Raptors in the 2018-19 season.

Frank Vogel won a championship with the Lakers in 2019-20, but he was let go last off-season.

The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks fired Mike Budenholzer after they were upset by the #8 Miami Heat in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Phoenix Suns and 76ers are also interested in hiring Budenholzer, who won a championship with the Bucks in the 2020-21 season.

There were rumors last off-season that the 76ers were going to fire Rivers and replace him with Mike D’Antoni. Now that Rivers is out, D’Antoni’s name has come up once again as a potential replacement. D’Antoni previously coached star guard James Harden during their time together with the Houston Rockets. Daryl Morey, the general manager of the 76ers and former Rockets general manager, also has close ties to D’Antoni when they worked together in Houston.

If Rivers doesn’t want to take a year off and work in the media, there are several teams in search of a new head coach. The Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, Bucks, and Raptors each have a head coach vacancy.

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