After quick courtship and negotiations, Doc Rivers reached a deal to become the next coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
Rivers’ deal with the Sixers comes just three days after he left the LA Clippers. He also returned him to the Atlantic Division, where he will be a major rival to the Boston Celtics, where Rivers won the NBA title in 2009 as a coach.
On Monday, Sixers general manager Elton Brand contacted Rivers and his agent, Lonnie Cooper, to assess interest in the Sixers’ work. Rivers was soon on a flight to Philadelphia, where Wednesday’s meetings with Brand, owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, prompted the parties to move quickly to negotiate a multi-year deal.
Rivers takes over the Sixers team, which lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and continues to consider changes to the list that Brand remains determined to build around All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Rivers was a late entry into a process that increasingly focused on former Houston Rockets coach Mike D̵
The rivers were intrigued enough by the list, the market, and the organization to fly from the west coast to sit with the hierarchy of Philadelphia.
Rivers, 58, had two years out of his clipper contract, sources said, so he still owes a significant amount of money, although there are usually compensation agreements put in place if a coach is hired.
In the seven seasons at the head of the Rivers, the Clippers went 356-208, winning 63.1% of their games in the regular season – the fifth best record in the NBA and the best of any team without participating in the conference finals.
The Clippers went 49-23 this regular season, the fourth best record in franchise history, but they squandered a 3-1 series in the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets, passing 16, 19, and 12 points ahead as the Western Conference franchise for the land it reached 50 years.
Rivers has coached five of Clippers’ top six regular seasons, but he went 3-8 in potential playoff games with the Clippers, tied for the worst score by a single-team coach.
943 wins in Rivers’ career are the 11 most senior coaches of all time.
Sixers assistant coach Kevin Young also interviewed for the position of head coach and made a strong impression on the organization, sources said.
The Sixers also interviewed Clippers assistant Ty Lue this week, sources said, but Lue is emerging as a strong candidate to replace Rivers with Clippers. Clippers plan to interview other candidates starting soon, sources say.
The New Orleans Pelicans plan to interview Lue in the near future, sources said. Louis and Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin have strong ties, mostly working together to win an NBA title in Cleveland in 2016.