After quick courtship and negotiations, Doc Rivers has reached an agreement to become the next coach of “Philadelphia”, – sources told ESPN on Thursday.
Rivers’ contract with the Sixers is only three days after he leaves the LA Clippers. It also brings him back to the Atlantic Division, where he will become the main rival of the Boston Celtics, where Rivers won the NBA title in 2009 as coach.
Sixers CEO Elton Brand approached Rivers and his agent Lonnie Cooper on Monday to assess their interest in the Sixers. Rivers soon took a flight to Philadelphia, where Wednesday’s meetings with Brand, owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, had the parties move quickly to negotiate a multi-year deal.
Rivers takes on the Sixers team, which lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and continues to consider changes to the lineup, which the Brand remains determined to build around All-Stars by Joel Embide and Ben Simmons.
Rivers was a late entry into the process, which increasingly focused on former Houston Rockets coach Mike D̵7;Antoni.
The rivers were intrigued enough by the list, the market, and the organization to fly from the west coast to follow the hierarchy of Philadelphia.
According to sources, Rivers, 58, has two years left under the Clippers contract, so he still owes a significant amount of money, although there are usually compensation agreements for payments if the coach is hired.
In the seven seasons of Rivers, the Clippers drove 356-208, winning 63.1% of their regular season games – the fifth best record in the NBA and the best among teams without a performance in the conference finals.
The Clippers have been 49-23 in this regular season, the fourth best record in franchise history, but they missed 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets, giving up a lead of 16, 19 and 12 points as the Western Conference franchise in the finale of the drought reached 50 years.
Rivers has coached five of the Clippers’ top six regular seasons, but he has played 3-8 in potential playoff games with the Clippers, tied to the worst single-coach coaching.
943 victories in Rivers’ career – 11th place among head coaches of all time.
Sixers assistant coach Kevin Young also took a job as head coach and made a strong impression on the organization, sources said.
The Sixers also interviewed Clippers assistant Tai Lu this week, but Lou is a strong candidate to replace Rivers Clippers. Clippers plans to interview other candidates in the near future, sources said.
The New Orleans Pelicans also plan to interview Lou in the near future, sources said. Lou and Pelicans, executive vice president of basketball operations at David Griffin, have strong ties, including working together to win the 2016 NBA title in Cleveland.