LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has been removed from his post with the team, in a move that Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer labelled a ‘mutual decision’.
It comes after Rivers and his Clippers gave up a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs – despite the big ticket acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the off-season.
It was a performance that didn’t even come close to matching the lofty expectations set by not only their supporter base, but the franchise themselves – who doubled down on the ‘win or bust’ storyline pretty much all season.
Chairman Ballmer praised Rivers’ tenure.
“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,” Ballmer said.
“He won a heck of a lot of games and laid a foundation for this franchise.”
He had two years left on his contract.
In a statement on twitter, Rivers thanked the supporters and the franchise for the memories he had built in his time there.
“Thank you to all the players, coaches, and staff for helping us get here. Most importantly, thank you to the fans. We went through a lot, and I am grateful for my time here,” Rivers said.
— doc rivers (@DocRivers) September 28, 2020
He also touched on how this season didn’t play out in the manner he wished it may have.
“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,” Rivers continued.
“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.”
As a result of this playoff result, Rivers now holds the unwanted record of being the only head coach in association history to blow 3-1 leads in three separate playoff series.
He will likely be picked up by another franchise, according to whispers already circulating in league circles. His record (despite the above) is solid – and his 943 career wins is the 11th most by a head coach in NBA history.