NBA

Doc Rivers Almost Took a Break From Coaching Until the 76ers Gave Him an Offer Too Good To Pass Up

One of the most respected coaches in the NBA today is Doc Rivers. However, Rivers’ teams have struggled in the playoffs over the years, including the LA Clippers who were expected to contend for a championship this year, but ultimately lost in the second round of the NBA playoffs. This ended up leading to the Clippers and Rivers parting ways, but Rivers has since taken a new job as he is now the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. He almost didn’t take another job, though, as Rivers recently revealed that he almost took a break from coaching.

Doc Rivers has been a successful NBA coach

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Rivers’ first job as a head coach in the NBA came with the Orlando Magic. He was ultimately there from 1999-2000 to 2003-04, and he had some success while he was there.

In his second season, Rivers led the Magic to the playoffs. Orlando then ultimately went to the playoffs in three straight seasons with Rivers from 2000-01 through 2002-03. However, Rivers only coached the Magic for 11 games in 2003-04 before becoming the Boston Celtics‘ head coach in 2004-05.

In Rivers’ first three seasons with Boston, the Celtics only went to the playoffs once. They also only went 24-58 in 2006-07. However, in 2007-08, the Celtics dominated with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, and ultimately won the NBA Finals. Rivers then coached the Celtics through the 2012-13 season, and they went to the playoffs in each of those seasons. He led them back to the NBA Finals in 2009-10, and to the Eastern Conference Finals again in 2011-12.

In 2013, though, Rivers took over as head coach of the LA Clippers. LA ultimately went to the playoffs in every season he was there but for one. They, however, did not make it past the Western Conference Semifinals in any of those seasons.

For his career, Rivers has a 943-681 record as a head coach.

He is now the head coach of the 76ers after parting ways with the Clippers

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The Clippers had high expectations for the 2019-20 season. After taking Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors to six games in the First Round of the playoffs in 2018-19, they added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the offseason.

LA was then one of the best teams in the NBA in 2019-20, as they went 49-23 and ended up finishing with the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. However, after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the First Round, the Clippers shockingly lost to the Denver Nuggets in seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals. 

Following the disappointing playoff exit, Rivers stepped down as the Clippers head coach in what was called a “mutual decision,” according to ESPN.

However, Rivers has since become the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Doc Rivers almost took a break from coaching

Doc Rivers is the new coach of the 76ers now. After parting ways with the Clippers, though, Rivers was ready to take a break from coaching.
Doc Rivers of the LA Clippers watches from the sidelines during the first half of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 09, 2020. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

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After taking his new gig as the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, Rivers revealed that he almost took a break from coaching.

“I love coaching. I absolutely love it,” Rivers said, according to ESPN. “But I was not going to just coach anybody, I can tell you that. I was ready to take a break … it just depended on the team that was available, and if that team in my opinion was ready to win.”

Well, with the 76ers having Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, they became too good of an opportunity for Rivers to pass up.

“When [general manager Elton Brand] called, it was an easy ‘Get on the plane and take a look’ for me,” Rivers said, per ESPN. “You look at these players, these young players, and their potential … the fact that they’ve had so much success in so many ways at the ages they are already, and where I think they can go, for me it’s a job you just couldn’t turn down.”

He also went on to say, “That’s why I’m here. Just really excited about it.”

The 76ers have made the playoffs each of the last three seasons. They also took the Toronto Raptors in 2018-19, who eventually won the NBA championship, to seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This year, they lost in the First Round to the Boston Celtics after Ben Simmons suffered a knee injury, per ESPN.

The 76ers might not have gone as far in the playoffs as they had hoped to this season, but getting an offer from them, with the collection of talent that they have, was just too good of an opportunity for Rivers to pass up. It’ll be interesting to see what the Sixers can do next year.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference