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NBA rocked by savage coach sacking

Doc Rivers has jumped back on the NBA coaching merry-go-round after mutually parting ways with the LA Clippers on Tuesday.The veteran leader was easily the most successful coach in the basket case franchise’s history during a seven-year run which sees him leave with the most wins, playoff appearances and highest winning percentage by a Clippers…

Doc Rivers has jumped back on the NBA coaching merry-go-round after mutually parting ways with the LA Clippers on Tuesday.

The veteran leader was easily the most successful coach in the basket case franchise’s history during a seven-year run which sees him leave with the most wins, playoff appearances and highest winning percentage by a Clippers coach.

But his second playoff exit with the Clippers after taking a 3-1 series lead apparently convinced both Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer his time was up – a move that few in the league saw coming, at least this fast.

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“Doc Rivers publicly invited the blame after the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to Denver … but it’s still difficult to process that he lost his job 13 days later no matter how much blame he actually deserves,” NY Times basketball writer March Stein tweeted.

“The reason: Doc, as a leader of men, is an undisputed upper-echelon coach.”

Rivers is reportedly already being sounded out about the vacancy in Philadelphia after the 76ers sacked Boomers coach Brett Brown. But Mike D’Antoni, who parted ways with Houston after the Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs by the Lakers, is still the frontrunner to guide Ben Simmons next season.

The New Orleans Pelicans, who let go Alvin Gentry, are also interested in Rivers, who sent a message to Clips nation.

“Thank you Clipper nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in helping make this a winning franchise,” Rivers wrote.

“When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination, and bring a championship to this organisation.

“While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won’t be able to see them all through.”

Rivers’ departure comes after the Clippers agonising loss in the Western Conference semi-finals, when they blew a 3-1 series lead before losing 4-3 to the Denver Nuggets.

The 58-year-old Rivers joined the Clippers from the Boston Celtics in 2013. However although the team were consistent qualifiers for the playoffs, Rivers was unable to take them beyond the Western Conference semi-finals.

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Six of the team’s playoff campaigns under Rivers ended in the first round. Rivers however insists he believes the Clippers, who had high hopes of reaching the NBA Finals this year after recruiting Kawhi Leonard in 2019, are close to competing for championships.

“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,” Rivers said in his message to fans.

“Thank you to all the players, coaches, and staff for helping us get there. Most importantly, thank you to the fans. We went through a lot, and I am grateful for my time here.”

— with AFP

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