Why did 76ers fire Doc Rivers? Philadelphia dismisses head coach after playoff loss vs. Celtics
Why did 76ers fire Doc Rivers? Philadelphia dismisses head coach after playoff loss vs. Celtics
Why 76ers fired Doc Rivers after playoff loss vs. Celtics

Doc Rivers said it himself after the 76ers' ugly Game 7 loss to the Celtics: "No one's safe in our business."

Only days removed from an embarrassing playoff performance, the Sixers have fired Rivers. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Tuesday morning, and the team later confirmed that it had dismissed Rivers. The 61-year-old coach compiled a 154-82 record over three seasons in Philadelphia.

"Doc is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, a future Hall of Famer, and someone I respect immensely. We're grateful for all he did in his three seasons here and thank him for the important impact he made on our franchise," 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said.

"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."

"I wanted, just as badly as you, to bring another championship to Philadelphia," Rivers said in a statement to Sixers fans following his firing. "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead, to learn, and to love this great city.

Rivers is the latest coach to lose his job following a disappointing end to the 2022-23 campaign, joining Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse and Monty Williams.

Why did the 76ers decide to part ways with him?

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Why did the 76ers fire Doc Rivers?

When the 76ers named Rivers the 25th head coach in franchise history, general manager Elton Brand declared that he could "help us unlock our full potential on the floor and further our pursuit of an NBA championship."

Unfortunately for Rivers and the Sixers, the team was never able to advance beyond the Eastern Conference Semifinals. While MVP award winner Joel Embiid ran into some bad injury luck during the postseason, Philadelphia couldn't put all of the blame on health issues. The 76ers underperformed in huge moments, including their latest defeat.

"I'm disappointed. I thought we had the right group," Rivers said after Game 7. "I really did. ... As far as our guys' fight, against everybody who picked against us, they didn't care. They thought they could still win this series. That's something good about our team. I thought, overall, we were fighters."

There were also questions about whether the players on the roster and prominent figures in the organization had confidence in Rivers' ability to lead this group moving forward. Embiid said that Rivers had done a "fantastic job," but James Harden, who can decline his player option and become a free agent this summer, didn't give him a ringing endorsement.

James Harden on his relationship with Doc Rivers. Not the strongest of endorsements here after a brutal Game 7 loss.

“Our relationship is ok.” pic.twitter.com/qqjn4NHfXG

— David Grzybowski (@DavidGrzyTV) May 14, 2023

Ultimately, the 76ers felt that they had hit a hard ceiling with Rivers. Now, they will search for a new head coach who is capable of taking them to the next level.

Doc Rivers contract with 76ers

The 76ers officially hired Rivers in October 2020. At the time, Wojnarowski reported that Rivers had signed a five-year deal. His annual salary was $8 million, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

After Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Rivers confirmed that he had two years left on his contract.

Doc Rivers coaching record with 76ers

Before coaching the 76ers, Rivers spent five seasons in Orlando (1999-04), nine seasons in Boston (2004-13) and seven seasons with the Clippers (2013-20).

Season Regular season record NBA Playoff record Result
2020-21 49-23 7-5 Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals
2021-22 51-31 6-6 Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals
2022-23 54-28 7-4 Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals

76ers coaching candidates: Who will replace Doc Rivers?

Philadelphia's coaching search is expected to include Budenholzer, Nurse and Williams, per Wojnarowski. Sam Cassell, Mike D'Antoni and Frank Vogel are also considered strong candidates for the job.

The Sixers’ search for a new coach is expected to include Mike Budenholzer, Sam Cassell, Mike D’Antoni, Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel and Monty Williams, sources tell ESPN.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 16, 2023

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