Veteran head coach Doc Rivers has been named the Philadelphia 76ers newest head coach on Thursday, a source confirms to Sports Illustrated. The hiring comes a little over a month after the Sixers ended a seven-season stint with Brett Brown that ended with no conference finals appearances.
When the team initially ended the Brown era, several early candidates were linked to the Sixers. Some of the notable names included Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue and Villanova head coach Jay Wright. Over time, Wright made it clear he was staying at Nova, while Lue remained on Philly's radar throughout the Clippers' playoff run.
Meanwhile, two other coaches joined the market, and the Sixers took an interest. First, Billy Donovan wrapped up a five-year run with the Thunder. Then, Mike D'Antoni parted ways with the Rockets following year four after Houston failed to get past the Lakers during the second round of the playoffs.
The Sixers reportedly considered Lue, Donovan, and D'Antoni the top candidates roughly a month into their coaching search. Before they conducted a second interview with Donovan, the former Thunder head coach agreed to become the next head coach of the Chicago Bulls, leaving it a two-man race between Lue and D'Antoni.
Barring any last-minute changes around the league, the Sixers were getting ready to choose between Lue and D'Antoni. Then, Doc Rivers suddenly became available. Although rumors indicated that the Clippers' collapse in the 2020 NBA playoffs wouldn't cost Rivers his job, the Clippers reversed their initial thought process and decided to fire the veteran head coach.
Almost immediately, the Sixers became intrigued with Rivers as they reached out to his reps within two hours of his firing. Days later, Rivers flew to Philadelphia to partake in a meeting with the Sixers organization. While the job seemed like it was D'Antoni's to lose before, Rivers' resume was hard to pass up, considering he's won an NBA championship in 2008 with Boston and has dealt with many stars during his career.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_