It was a disappointing end to the Los Angeles Clippers’ season in 2019-20 but we never really thought it would come to this. The Clippers and coach Doc Rivers parted ways on Monday evening after seven seasons. Los Angeles was viewed as a title contender and the Clippers ended up losing to the Denver Nuggets in seven games. The Clippers had been up 3-1 before losing three straight. Rivers was unable to get Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the finals in their first season together. So now Rivers is out the door. Chances are he won’t be out of work for long. Let’s take a look at some potential landing spots for Rivers.
The Sixers had been rumored to be deciding between a few candidates including Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue. With Rivers available, you’ve got to think the Sixers give him a call and get him in for an interview. Rivers is the type of coach who can come in and take a playoff team to the next level. He’d be great to get around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, plus Rivers would have the respect of veterans like Al Horford and Tobias Harris. Philly doesn’t have a roster that needs to be rebuilt. The Sixers also have pieces in place to play defense at a high level, which is always important with Rivers’ teams.
This is perhaps the most intriguing and appealing job if you’re Rivers. You get to come in and coach a young, talented Pelicans team featuring Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday. There’s no reason the Pelicans can’t become title contenders sooner rather than later under a great coach like Rivers. He could help the defensive deficiencies that plagued the Pelicans throughout the season and into the seeding round.
The Pels will need to pay Ingram but still have JJ Redick under contract for another season. Obviously, Redick and Rivers are familiar with each other from their time together with the Clippers. Rivers would also be great for Lonzo Ball having coached great point guards in Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. To me, if you’re the Pelicans, you get Rivers on the horn and try and lock it up quickly.
Maybe the only thing holding Rivers back from jumping straight to NOLA is Houston. The Rockets have a lot of appeal if you’re Rivers. You get James Harden, you get Russell Westbrook and you get a ton of shooting. You also get a couple of great defenders in P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington. The main issue is I don’t think Rivers would want to play small ball, so GM Daryl Morey would likely need to make a few roster adjustments. It’d also be tough for the Rockets to bring in an assistant or a coach that is less established. Rivers makes the transition from D’Antoni to a new coach effortless.
The Pacers’ job isn’t high-profile like the previous three teams mentioned. It isn’t a bad job, though. Indiana has a solid roster that is talented and versatile. Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis are both entering their primes. Myles Turner isn’t a bad piece down low and there’s enough depth where the Pacers can make a few moves to get more competitive in the East. I think if you’re Victor Oladipo, Brogdon, T.J. Warren, you’d be thrilled to bring in a veteran coach like Rivers after having a great coach like Nate McMillan for so long.