After a disappointing collapse to the end of a season with championship aspirations, Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer announced the decision between both parties is mutual. Los Angeles entered the postseason with the second-best record (49-23) in the Western Conference; its run’s peak came in the form of a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 Conference Semifinals against the Nuggets before the losing three straight.
Doc Rivers: ‘It Was A Disappointing Ending’
Rivers, who posted a message to Twitter following the news, addressed the following towards Clippers fans and the organization.
“Thank you Clipper Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in help making this a winning franchise,” Rivers said via 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 ending to our season, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support.”
Rivers went on to thank the players and coaching staff.
“Thank you to all the players, coaches, and staff for helping us get here,” Rivers added. “Most importantly, thank you to the fans. We went through a lot, and I am grateful for my time here.”
The Los Angeles Clippers’ 2019-20 Season
Unfortunately for Doc Rivers and the Clippers, this wasn’t the first time they blew a 3-1 lead in a playoff series. Back in 2015, Los Angeles held a 3-1 lead against the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semis before the Spurs rallied back to win in Game 7.
Most notably, Rivers, who came from Boston with a championship pedigree, including two NBA Finals appearances throughout the Celtics ‘Big 3’ era, never reached the Conference Finals at the helm of the Clippers. Equipped with arguably one of the league’s most talented players in Kawhi Leonard and a perennial All-Star in Paul George, Rivers still fell short of reaching the NBA’s final four round.
The 2019-20 campaign was Rivers’ greatest chance at a title run. Now, Los Angeles’ search for a new head coach commences ahead of an interesting off-season that may involve other eye-raising changes for the Clippers.