Report: Timeline of Clippers’ decision to move on from Doc Rivers as head coach
The Los Angeles Clippers shocked the basketball world on Monday when they announced that they had come to a mutual agreement to part ways with longtime coach Doc Rivers. There’s no denying that the Clippers failed catastrophically in what turned out to be a relatively brief playoff run, but not many expected Rivers to be ousted so unceremoniously.
As it turns out, however, the front office’s decision to move forward without Rivers was not a knee-jerk reaction by any stretch. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, a lot went into the decision:
This was not an impulsive overreaction to the organization’s early playoff exit — or, specifically, the blown 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals — but rather an accumulation of philosophical differences through the years and, especially, recent weeks.
The report also states how Rivers had several meetings with team owner Steve Ballmer in the buildup to his departure. In the end, they just agreed to disagree on the future:
After hours of back-and-forth, the sides concluded they had differing visions of the team’s path forward, leading to the mutual decision to separate after seven seasons together, league sources said.
The report went into detail as to exactly how their philosophies varied in terms of the roster and expectations:
From Rivers’ perspective, the Clippers’ roster was flawed and he tried to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. From the Clippers’ perspective, the team’s overwhelming status as the league’s championship favorites made their second-round collapse inexcusable, and was more of an indictment of Rivers’ coaching than the players’ performances.
Rivers had a good amount of success with LA, but this most recent playoff failure was the final straw. This team had championship expectations after acquiring Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the inability to even get to the Western Conference Finals was unacceptable. Blowing a 3-1 lead in embarrassing fashion only made it worse.
The Clippers will now try to find a new coach who can lead the way next season, which will be an extremely important one given Leonard and George could become free agents in 2021.