After seven seasons, Doc Rivers is out as the Los Angeles Clippers head coach.
While Rivers was the greatest coach in Clippers franchise history, his inability to not blow 3-1 series leads or get to the Western Conference Finals is a big reason Steve Ballmer will be looking for a new coach to lead his contending basketball team. The Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals down in the Orlando NBA bubble.
It is emphatically championship or bust with the 2020-21 Los Angeles Clippers.
“Thank you Clipper Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in helping me make this a winning franchise,” wrote Rivers on Twitter. “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 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 end to our season, you are right there and I know that 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.”
The NBA was hoping for The Battle of Los Angeles in the 2020 Western Conference Finals. Instead, we got a middling best-of-seven series that went to the Los Angeles Lakers team over a Nuggets club that was just happy to be one of the final four. Since the Clippers have never been a final four team at any point of their history, this coaching change isn’t all that surprising.
The Clippers have supposedly two of the 10 best players in the game in forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Since it doesn’t take a big three to win an NBA Finals at this time, the Clippers in theory have the pieces in place to contend for league championships. As they await their inner city rival winning yet another title in their illustrious history, the Clippers will be looking for a new coach.
The good news for the Clippers is they will be able to get an attractive candidate to lead them. These aren’t the same, old sorry Clippers from yesteryear under former owner Donald Sterling. Ballmer is revered league-wide for what he has done in changing this team’s culture. However, it’s time he spends the big bucks and gets his team a coach who can win in crucial moments.
It will be interesting to see who will be Rivers’ successor on the Clippers bench.