When Doc Rivers and the LA Clippers parted ways after seven years together last week, Rivers was expecting to take a break from coaching after spending 16 consecutive seasons patrolling NBA sidelines.
But then, within a few hours of that news becoming public, he’d received a call from the Philadelphia 76ers. After a whirlwind courtship, Rivers was introduced as the team’s new head coach Monday afternoon, citing it as too good of an opportunity to pass up.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
“I love coaching. I absolutely love it,” Rivers said on a video conference call with reporters from the practice court inside the team’s Camden, New Jersey, practice facility. “But I was not going to just coach anybody, I can tell you that. I was ready to take a break … it just depended on the team that was available, and if that team in my opinion was ready to win.”
Rivers said that three teams reached out to his agent, Lonnie Cooper, within hours of the news coming out about his dismissal from the Clippers after their flameout in the Western Conference semifinals. They lost to the Denver Nuggets after taking a 3-1 lead in the series and holding double-digit leads in Games 5, 6 and 7.
But he said he met with the Sixers first, and that it quickly became clear to him that the team’s talent, led by All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, made this a job he simply had to take.
“When [general manager Elton Brand] called, it was an easy ‘Get on the plane and take a look’ for me,” Rivers said. “You look at these players, these young players, and their potential … the fact that they’ve had so much success in so many ways at the ages they are already, and where I think they can go, for me it’s a job you just couldn’t turn down.cheap nfl jerseys china nike
“That’s why I’m here. Just really excited about it.”
The Sixers, like the Clippers, failed to live up to lofty expectations this season. Philadelphia’s roster was deemed championship-caliber entering the season, but the pieces never quite fit together the way the team hoped. The Sixers ultimately wound up being swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics after Ben Simmons was lost for the season because of knee surgery. Longtime coach Brett Brown was fired the next day.
Still, Philadelphia has a roster full of talent, led by the Simmons-Embiid pairing, a tandem that Rivers immediately identified as worthy of making him choose to forgo a break from coaching and instead dive right back in again.
“They’ve won 65% of the games they’ve played,” Rivers said, referring to Simmons and Embiid, “so it clearly works when they play together. … this team is loaded with talent. We just have to figure out how to make it work the best.”