National Basketball Association team the Philadelphia 76ers has fired coach Doc Rivers after its recent playoff loss to the Boston Celtics. The team dismissed Rivers on May 16 after the Sixers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals for a third straight season. The team lost 112-88 in Game 7 to the Boston Celtics on May 14.
The Sixers have not won an NBA championship since 1983. Rivers has been with the Sixers for three years as head coach. Rivers delivered 54 victories in 2022-23 — the most the franchise has seen since 2000-01. Rivers had two years left on his contract, NBA.com reported. He won the 2008 NBA title as coach of the Boston Celtics. Rivers also coached the Orlando Magic and the LA Clippers.
“Doc is one of the most successful coaches 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’re grateful for all he did in his three seasons here and thank him for the important impact he made on our franchise. After having the chance to reflect upon our season, we decided that certain changes are necessary to further our goals of competing for a championship.”
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Doc Rivers is one of five head coaches in NBA history to record a winning record in at least 16 consecutive seasons, ESPN reported.
Rivers wasn’t the only Black coach fired after the NBA playoffs. The Phoenix Suns fired head coach Monty Williams on May 13 after NBA playoffs elimination.
In the 2022/23 NBA season, there were 14 white head coaches and 15 African-American head coaches.
In the running to take Rivers’ post are Mike Budenholzer, former head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks; Sam Cassell, who serves as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers; former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, Nick Nurse, who led the Toronto Raptors to an NBA championship in 2019; former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel; and Monty Williams, who earned NBA Coach of the Year honors in 2021-22, sources told ESPN.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers calls to players during the first half of Game 5 of the team’s NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series against the Boston Celtics on May 9, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)/Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams in the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball semifinal playoff series May 9, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)