Doc Rivers was predictably fired by the Philadelphia 76ers team after his coaching was blamed for the team’s consecutive losses in the Eastern Conference playoffs to the rival Boston Celtics, The New York Post reported.
On May 16, two days after the 76ers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Celtics, which the Philadelphia team has lost three times in the semifinals, with the most recent defeat being the Celtics’ 112-88 win in Game 7, Rivers was coaching for the team for the last time.
His firing may have taken him by surprise because after his team lost, a reporter questioned whether or not he would remain with the team next season.
“Yeah, I think I got two years left,” Rivers said Sunday, May 14. “No one is safe in our business and I get that.”
Rivers has led the 76ers to the semifinals three times and won an NBA championship with Boston in 2008. However, he has not advanced past the second round in seven seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers and three with the 76ers, suggesting his best days may be behind him.
“We’re grateful for all he did in his three seasons here and thank him for the important impact he made on our franchise,” team president Daryl Morey said in a statement. “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.”
In addition to his 2008 championship, Rivers is considered one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, having led the Celtics to the NBA Finals on three separate occasions in 2008, 2010 and 2012. He has won one NBA Coach of the Year award and two Eastern Conference Coach of the Year awards.
Rivers began his coaching career in 1999 when he was hired as the head coach of the Orlando Magic. He led the Magic to the 2000 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2004, Rivers was hired as the head coach of the Boston Celtics.
In 2013, Rivers was hired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. He led the Clippers to the Western Conference Finals in 2014 and 2015. In 2020, Rivers was hired as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.
I didn’t hate Doc by any stretch, but it was time for a change in scenery. Rivers is still an all time great coach, who has always struggled with getting over the hump. He’s provided several amazing regular seasons in his time here, and I’ll be thankful for that, but it was time.
— CallMeCassian (@FontenotNate) May 17, 2023
How Doc Rivers was in the locker room after the sixers got blew out by the Celtics in game 7 😂🤦🏾♂️🏀 pic.twitter.com/3xxa4a6fNl
— Mark Phillips (@SupremeDreams_1) May 15, 2023
James Harden really got Doc Rivers fired for us, and y’all are complaining about this man. He won us 2 of our 3 wins, and played good in the 3 win too. Everyone played bad in game 2, and pretty much game 7 too… pic.twitter.com/3Wn8lt73kx
— Aidan LaPorta (@aidanlaporta69) May 16, 2023
How the Sixers fired Doc Rivers
— TheHomieJoker🃏 (@TheHomieJoker) May 16, 2023
Joel Embiid u should be shameless right now. I also need Doc Rivers fired right tf now pic.twitter.com/GjBPGJHY6M
— FearBuck (@FearedBuck) May 14, 2023
Reactions online have been mixed, with some Philly fans excited to see what the new management has in store for the 76ers, on the other hand, some critics blame Philly’s poor Game 7 performance on James Harden, who is rumored to be leaving the 76ers and returning to Ime Udoka’s Houston Rockets, and Joel Embiid, who won this season’s MVP award but only scored an abysmal 15 points in his nearly 40 minutes of playing time.