However, it would now appear that they also ended Boston’s 2008 championship-winning head coach’s time with the Sixers, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on May 16 that Doc Rivers had been released by the team.
Rivers had been with the Sixers since the 2020-21 NBA season, amassing 154 wins and 92 losses throughout three regular seasons. However, Philadelphia’s championship window is tight, as Joel Embiid’s health is always a factor they will be concerned about; as such, the Sixers have taken the decision to look for a new head coach.
In contrast, Rivers spent nine seasons in Boston, winning 416 games and losing 305, while leading the Celtics to one championship and winning the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010.
The decision comes after the Sixers blew a 3-2 lead in the second round of this year’s playoffs, with the Celtics winning two straight games to advance to the conference finals.
Celtics Keeping Tabs on Frank Vogel
While Rivers will likely be looking for a new job around the league, the Celtics are keeping tabs on Frank Vogel and Stephen Silas as potential candidates to fill two of their open assistant coaching roles, per HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto.
“Former Lakers coach Frank Vogel — who interviewed for Houston’s head coaching job — has drawn interest from several NBA teams this offseason,” Scotto wrote. “The Celtics are also a team to monitor for Vogel, along with former Rockets coach Stephen Silas, who’s also drawn interest from several NBA teams.”
The Celtics have been short-handed in the coaching ranks this season after losing Ime Udoka, Will Hardy, and Damon Stoudamire, along with Joe Mazzulla being escalated to the head coaching position. As such, it makes sense that Brad Stevens and Mazzulla would want to add some veteran voices to the teams’ bench.
Doc Rivers Recently Praised Mazzulla
Following what was now his last game for the Sixers, Rivers spoke with Heavy on Sports Steve Buplett, where he discussed the improvements he has seen from Mazzulla both throughout the season and during their playoff battle.
“Joe was dumb two weeks ago,” Rivers retorted. “I told you that. Now he’s in the conference finals. Look, Joe’s doing a terrific job. When we were making shots and playing well, that wasn’t on Joe. It was never Joe. It’s always that you’ve got to execute, and you’ve got to play well, and it’s a make-miss league. I don’t think there was an issue on either side. One team beat the other team. That’s what happens.”
Rivers, 61, is still young enough to find another head coaching job in the NBA, and currently, there are plenty of open positions available. However, he is quickly earning a reputation for struggling in the post-season, and that may hinder his chances of being given an opportunity at another contending team.
For Boston, they will be worrying about their own playoff goals as they prepare to face off against the Miami Heat in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, where the Celtics won in seven games.