After a disappointing playoff run for the Los Angeles Clippers, Document Rivers is now not the pinnacle trainer of the crew, he mentioned Monday.
“Thanks Clipper Country for permitting me to be your trainer and all of your improve in serving to making this a successful franchise,” Rivers said in a statement posted on Twitter. “After I took this task, my objectives have been to make this a successful basketball program, a loose agent vacation spot, and produce a championship to this group.
“Whilst I used to be ready to perform maximum of my objectives, I gained’t be capable to see them all over.”
A observation from the crew referred to parting with Rivers as “a mutual choice.” Steve Ballmer, the Clippers’ proprietor, mentioned he was once “immeasurably thankful” to Rivers.
“Document has been a fantastic trainer for the Clippers, an out of this world ambassador, and a pillar of power all over tumultuous instances,” Ballmer mentioned. “He gained a heck of a large number of video games and laid a basis for this franchise.”
The Clippers, who’ve by no means made it to the convention finals within the playoffs, entered the season with arguably their absolute best roster ever, stretching back to the 1970-71 season when they were known as the Buffalo Braves. Last summer, they acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, giving the team a fearsome duo to go toe-to-toe with the other starry Los Angeles pair, LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Lakers.
But the Clippers seemed to have difficulty gelling all season. Even so, they were the second seed in the Western Conference and were on the doorstep of the conference finals, up 3-1 on the Denver Nuggets. But for the second consecutive series, the Nuggets reeled off three straight wins to advance to the next round, shocking the Clippers.
Rivers joined the Clippers in 2013, five years after winning a championship with the Boston Celtics. In his first year, Rivers led the Clippers to 57 wins and a first-round playoff win. This would be his most successful season.
The next year, Rivers was promoted to president of basketball operations — giving him the rare authority over personnel decisions and on-court play. But in 2017, Rivers lost the front office job after the Clippers continued to falter in the playoffs, even with the All-Stars Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan in their primes.
Rivers has been an N.B.A. coach for two decades and compiled a regular-season record of 943-681. In 2000, his first year as coach, he won the Coach of the Year Award with the Orlando Magic. With the Clippers, Rivers went 356-208, a .631 winning percentage. He led the franchise to its best stretch in its history: six playoff trips in seven seasons, and three postseason series wins. But Rivers also has a dubious distinction: He is the only N.B.A. coach to ever lose three seven-game series after leading, 3-1.
He cemented a reputation as a players’ coach after the 2008 championship with Boston, when he melded three All-Stars — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen — who hadn’t found success leading their own teams separately. He also won plaudits for guiding the Clippers after Donald Sterling, the former team owner, was recorded making racist statements and was forced to sell the team to Ballmer. Rivers also played point guard in the N.B.A. from 1983 to 1996 and made an All-Star appearance in the 1987-88 season.
The Clippers job will be highly sought after. It is likely that the candidates will include current team assistants Tyronn Lue and Sam Cassell. Lue won a championship as coach of the James-led Cavaliers in 2016. Cassell played for the Clippers for almost three seasons starting in 2005, and has been an N.B.A. assistant for more than a decade. Just this month, Cassell received a vote of confidence from Rivers himself.
“Sam Cassell should be a head coach, period,” Rivers said.