After the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 14, it only took the Sixers two days to fire Doc Rivers as head coach. However, according to NBA Insider Marc Stein, Rivers did not think the Sixers would choose the route that they did.
Stein explained why Rivers thought his job was safe despite his third consecutive elimination in the second round as the Sixers’ head coach.
“Another strong rumbling in Chicago: Doc Rivers and his staff came away from Philadelphia’s Game 7 loss in Boston in Round 2 with the initial feeling that they would survive the 76ers’ failure to win the series after seizing a 3-2 series lead with a Game 5 win at TD Garden. That was Monday. By Tuesday morning, Rivers had been fired,” Stein wrote on his Substack on May 20.
Instead, Rivers is out of the job, and the Sixers are looking for his replacement. Stein added who are among the potential replacements for Rivers.
“Former Raptors coach Nick Nurse and James Harden favorite Mike D’Antoni are among a slew of veteran coaches Philly is considering in the search for Rivers’ replacement.”
James Harden Expected to Return to Rockets
Though NBA Free Agency has yet to begin, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that James Harden is expected to reunite with his previous team, the Houston Rockets, in the offseason.
“The belief among NBA executives is that James Harden will rejoin the Houston Rockets this summer.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta ‘loves’ the 76ers point guard. The franchise expects to reunite with him,” Pompey wrote.
Pompey explained why Harden wants to go back to the Rockets.
“Sources have said his interest in returning to Houston is mutual and not a ploy to get a lucrative deal out of the Sixers. His mother still lives in the city. He has several business ventures there. And, as one source said, ‘he’s treated like a god in Houston.'”
Should Harden leave, the Sixers do not have the cap room to replace him, but they do have Tobias Harris’ $39.2 million expiring contract to offer for a possible replacement via trade.
Joel Embiid ‘Shocked’ & ‘Disappointed’ By Doc Rivers’ Firing
Daryl Morey revealed in a May 17 press conference that Joel Embiid was disappointed about the Rivers’ firing as well as one of the other moves Morey made.
“They had a strong relationship,” Morey said before pivoting to follow another train of thought about an unspecified trade the Sixers had made. “I have to make tough calls all the time with trades. Joel was disappointed. … Some of it was [that] he didn’t know the player we were getting in the trade, who ended up helping us, but he was disappointed in the players that went out. I think it’s natural to be very close with the people in the locker room.”
Morey later explained why Embiid was shocked by the move, and what Morey has to do next.
“He was very close with Coach Rivers, and yeah, he was shocked about the change,” Morey said. “It’s my job to help convince him that the new coach is someone that he’ll have a great relationship with as well.”