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Surprise choice as Ben Simmons’ new boss

Aussie NBA star Ben Simmons will have a new mentor next season after Philadelphia appointed Doc Rivers as the franchise’s new coach.Rivers was fired by the LA Clippers after they lost to Denver in the Western Conference playoffs but hasn’t taken long to snap up a new job, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported.Watch every single…

Aussie NBA star Ben Simmons will have a new mentor next season after Philadelphia appointed Doc Rivers as the franchise’s new coach.

Rivers was fired by the LA Clippers after they lost to Denver in the Western Conference playoffs but hasn’t taken long to snap up a new job, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported.

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The 76ers axed Brett Brown after they were swept in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, bringing an end to a disappointing campaign that promised much but didn’t deliver.

Rivers emerged as a surprise candidate for the Sixers gig after being tossed out on Tuesday by the Clippers, who lost the chance to play the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals by surrendering a 3-1 series lead against the Nuggets.

Wojnarowski reports a “rapid negotiation and courtship” took place between Rivers and Philly bosses, who made contact on Tuesday (AEDT), then met on Thursday and agreed to terms for a “multi-year” deal.

Rivers still had two years left to run on his contract when the Clippers punted him.

Former Houston coach Mike D’Antoni was widely reported to be the frontrunner for the vacant 76ers job until Rivers suddenly became available, when the situation quickly changed.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor tweeted: “Incredible how quickly this happened. Sixers ownership had the hots for Mike D’Antoni until Doc Rivers became available.”

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Brown, who has been Simmons’ only coach during his NBA career and is also in charge of the Australian Boomers, paid the price for Philly’s limp exit from the postseason.

Despite boasting Simmons and All-Star centre Joel Embiid, the chemistry was rarely right on-court for the Sixers and in the end Brown had to go.

“The job of an NBA coach, you’ve got to take the team you have and try to maximise it and get the most out of it,” Brown said after exiting the playoffs in August. “And I did not do that.”

Reports emerged after the 4-0 defeat to the Celtics the 76ers front office — which orchestrated to hand huge contracts to underperforming forwards Al Horford and Tobias Harris — would also be restructured as the franchise drives to do more than just make up the numbers in the playoffs.

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