Jeff Van Gundy Addresses Doc Rivers 76ers Hire—Sam Cassell Coaching Future

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 25: Devin Harris #34 of the Dallas Mavericks falls into the LA Clippers between Sam Cassell and Doc Rivers during the first half at Staples Center on February 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Doc Rivers is the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers after being fired by the Los Angeles Clippers.

LIVE with Jeff Van GundyESPN's Jeff Van Gundy joins us LIVE to talk about the NBA Finals and more!2020-10-01T23:33:11Z

Rivers’record through seven seasons with the team was 356-208, but he was ultimately unable to lead the Clippers past the conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets for the first time in franchise history. “Yeah that was shocking that the Clippers and Doc Rivers parted ways,” ESPN color commentator, Jeff Van Gundy told me on the Heay Live With Scoop B Show.

“I thought that Doc Rivers did a tremendous job there.”

The Clippers brought in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to their roster last offseason and finish the regular season with a 49-23 record and a second place finish in the NBA’s Western Conference standings.

The Denver Nuggets, a third place team led by star, Jamal Murray beat the Clippers in the Playoffs and Doc Rivers was relieed of duties. “They obviously had an unfortunate series loss to Denver after being up 3-1,” says Jeff Van Gundy.

“But it did NOT shock me at all that he became the number No. 1 candidate for many teams and he decided on Philadelphia and they have a terrific team built around two stars that have to find ways to continue to co-exist and enhance each other’s skills, and I think Doc is a tremendous coach and leader and I think he’ll do a very good job there.”

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 09: Ben Simmons #25 and Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers help Tobias Harris #33 off the floor against the Toronto Raptors in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center on May 9, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Raptors 112-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will have a hands on coach in Doc Rivers. An NBA champion as a head coach, Rivers guided the 2008 Boston Celtics to o a championship in 2008. That Celtics team which was comprised of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo beat the Kobe Bryant, Paul Gasol-led Los Angeles Lakers.

Word last month is that Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach, Sam Cassell could be an NBA head coaching candidate and that the Houston Rockets have interest in the three-time NBA Champion.

Cassell, 50, was the 24th overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft out of Florida State. During his 15-year NBA career, Casssell averaged 15.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6 assists in stints with the Rockets, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics. Will Cassell be a head coach next year? “You know; I think it’s hard to judge assistant coaches unless you work with them,” says Jeff Van Gundy.

“You know so, I’ve never worked with Sam; I love Sam’s personality and his engaging nature. He’s been around terrific coaches when he played and he’s learned under Doc Rivers and I think that he’s just… I don’t think that you could be more ready for an opportunity, I’m just not the guy to talk to about the strengths and weaknesses as an assistant coach because we’ve never worked together. But from afar, I’m very impressed.”

Ty Lue is another coaching candidate to replace Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.

Lue compiled a 128-83 record during his coaching tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers after taking over the team when David Blatt was relieved of coaching duties in 2016.