PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Doc Rivers has suddenly changed the 76ers’ search for a head coach, as he became available earlier this week after mutually parting ways with the Los Angeles Clippers.
NBC10 footage shows Rivers arriving at the airport on Wednesday.
A source confirmed reports Thursday morning that Rivers interviewed for the Sixers vacancy Wednesday night with managing partner Josh Harris, co-managing partner David Blitzer and general manager Elton Brand.
Former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni — who was the Sixers associate head coach during the 2015-16 season — is a top candidate. Clippers lead assistant coach and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue also interviewed for the position.
A source indicated a decision could be made as early as this week. Thursday morning, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Rivers is a "serious candidate."
Rivers won an NBA Championship while coaching the Boston Celtics in 2008. He won Coach of the Year in 2000 with the Orlando Magic, and he has 943 regular-season wins, which is two away from jumping Hall of Famer Bill Fitch for 10th All-Time. According to Basketball Reference, his 91 postseason wins is seventh all-time — 10 away from passing former Sixers head coach and Hall of Famer Larry Brown for fourth.
In terms of active coaches, Rivers has the second-most wins behind Gregg Popovich’s 1,277. D’Antoni is fourth with 672.
Rivers played 13 seasons in the NBA.
However, there’s a negative stat attached to River: Three of his teams have coughed up 3-1 series leads, including the Clippers squad he just parted ways with.
Sixers forward Tobias Harris played for Rivers in Los Angeles for part of two seasons, averaging 20.3 points per game while shooting 42.6% from three-point range. In 2018-19, before he was traded to the 76ers, Harris was shooting 43.4% from three.
D’Antoni has head coached with Houston, the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. He’s never coached in an NBA Finals, and many outsiders believe his perimeter-based offense doesn’t fit the Sixers’ current roster construction. He played professionally in the NBA and ABA briefly in the ’70s.
Lue played 11 seasons in the NBA — including with the World Champion Lakers in the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons. He became the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach mid-season on their way to the 2016 title, which they won against the Golden State Warriors after trailing 3-1 in the series.
Lue coached the Cavs to two more Finals appearances the next two seasons.