Report: Doc Rivers is the Clear 'Leading Candidate' for 76ers

Justin Grasso

On Monday, Doc Rivers found out he was no longer the coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after a seven-year run. That very same night, the Philadelphia 76ers reached out to Rivers' representatives to see if he was looking for another NBA coaching job.

Rivers wasn't shy in expressing his interest in continuing to coach as he told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski he's not ready to hang it up at 58-years-old. So by Wednesday, Rivers was on a plane to Philadelphia to meet with Sixers Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, along with 76ers General Manager, Elton Brand.

After multiple conversations, Rivers and members of the Sixers organization stayed together on Wednesday night to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. At that point, many believed the 76ers weren't going to allow Rivers to leave without making him the team's next head coach.

But on Thursday morning, Rivers was on a plane heading back to California without a deal in place. Does that mean he's out of the picture, and Mike D'Antoni will soon get the job? Not quite. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey, it's clear that Rivers is now the leading candidate for the position, and a deal "could be imminent."

Per Pompey, a source mentioned the Sixers and Rivers are working through details on a new contract, and the job will soon be his to accept or turn down. Before Rivers became available, the Sixers planned to wrap up the coaching search with a hire by Thursday of this week. While it seems unlikely the search concludes by Thursday, Philly's front office and managing group are looking forward to hiring either Rivers or D'Antoni before the start of next week. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_