Clippers and coach Doc Rivers part ways

The Clippers and Doc Rivers have reached what the team describes as a mutual decision for Rivers to step down as the team’s head coach.

“Doc has been a terrific coach for the Clippers, an incredible ambassador, and a pillar of strength during tumultuous times,” Chairman Steve Ballmer said. “He won a heck of a lot of games and laid a foundation for this franchise.”

Rivers, 58, was the most successful head coach in Clippers history, compiling a record of 356-208 over seven seasons. Under his direction, the Clippers made the playoffs six times and reached the Western Conference semifinals in 2020, 2015, and 2014. Before arriving in Los Angeles in 2013, Rivers spent nine seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning a championship in 2008.

Per the Los Angeles Times:

According to people familiar with the Clippers’ situation, names that will come up to replace Rivers include Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue, who is reportedly set to interview for the Philadelphia 76ers job this week, and former NBA coach and ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Rivers joined the Clippers before the 2013-14 season and in his seven seasons helped build the team into a championship contender, finishing with a record of 356-208. He was the fifth-longest-tenured coach upon his departure, behind San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Dallas’ Rick Carlisle and Portland’s Terry Stotts.

Rivers owned the second-highest winning percentage among all active coaches, trailing Popovich. In August, Rivers passed Red Auerbach for 11th on the all-time coaching victories list. Rivers owns a .506 postseason winning percentage.

Rivers was hired for his championship coaching experience but during his tenure became as much of a spokesman for the franchise. After former owner Donald Sterling was banned for life by the NBA after allegedly making racist comments that surfaced in 2014, Rivers became the franchise’s voice and helped guide players and the team through uncertain times.

After Ballmer bought the Clippers in 2014, Rivers was given responsibility over all player personnel decisions. Three years later, Ballmer shook up the organization’s structure by limiting Rivers to coaching duties and installing a new front office led by Lawrence Frank, a former assistant coach under Rivers.

“I am immeasurably grateful to Doc for his commitment and contributions to the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles,” Ballmer added. “I am also extremely confident in our front office and our players. We will find the right coach to lead us forward and help us reach our ultimate goals. We will begin the search and interview process immediately.”

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