The Los Angeles Clippers had an early exit from the NBA playoffs following a series loss to the Denver Nuggets. Now the team is about to start looking for a new head coach. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Doc Rivers is no longer in charge of the Clippers.
Woj dropped the news on Monday afternoon but did not provide any more information. He cited sources while reporting that Rivers is out, but he didn't say if this was a voluntary departure or a firing. Although Rivers later confirmed his exit from the Clippers with a statement. The Clippers finished second in the NBA's Western Conference in the unique 2020 season with a 49-23 record. However, the team did not move past the conference semifinals of the playoffs.
"Thank you Clipper Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in helping make this a winning franchise," Rivers said. "When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination, and bring a championship to the organization. While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won't be able to see them all through.
"Though it was a disappointing ending to our season, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support. Thank you to all the players, coaches, and staff for helping us get here. Most importantly, thank you to the fans. We went through a lot, and I am grateful for my time here."
Following the final loss to the Nuggets in which stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard struggled and failed to score a single point in the fourth quarter, reports surfaced about discontent in the locker room. NBA analyst Chris Broussard said that some players were unhappy about the "special treatment" Rivers gave to George.
"I've been told some of the Clippers role players actually think they're as good as Paul George. They're having problems with the special treatment he's gotten from Doc Rivers. They can handle Kawhi getting special treatment because for the most part he delivered," Broussard said during an appearance on First Things First.0comments
Following a 14-year career in the NBA, Rivers landed a job as the head coach of the Orlando Magic. He spent more than four years with the team, leading them to the playoffs three times. However, the organization fired Rivers in 2003 after a 1-10 start to the season, prompting him to join the Boston Celtics after a year away.
Since 2004, Rivers has made a name as one of the league's best coaches. He led the Celtics to an NBA title in 2008 and nearly secured a second in 2010. Rivers later signed a contract extension to remain in Boston until a trade sent him to Los Angeles in 2013. He remained in Southern California until the end of the 2020 season after leading the Clippers to the playoffs six times in seven seasons.