The Sixers were deep into their head coaching search when Doc Rivers suddenly and unexpectedly became available, and they acted quickly to make him the next head coach of the franchise.
So quickly that they apparently derailed one Western Conference contender’s plan to hire Rivers as their next coach.
The Rockets were planning on hiring Rivers to succeed Mike D’Antoni before the Sixers switched gears and started aggressively pursuing Rivers, according to a report Tuesday from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“Houston had initially wanted to hire Rivers to replace Mike D’Antoni, sources said, but his talks with the 76ers moved quickly to a resolution.”
The Rockets are now reportedly taking a long look at Ty Lue, who was Rivers’ assistant coach in Los Angeles this past season and also interviewed for the Sixers’ head coaching job, to replace D’Antoni. That feels like a win for the Sixers, who have a less-proven but younger star duo in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, compared to James Harden and Russell Westbrook in Houston.
In an ironic twist, D’Antoni, who the Rockets wanted to replace with Rivers, seemed to have the Sixers job locked up before Rivers parted ways with the Clippers after their second-round exit in the NBA Bubble’s postseason.
Rivers wasn’t available long – he parted ways with the Clippers on Sept. 28, and the Sixers hired him on Oct. 3. – so that five-day window must’ve been fast-paced and fascinating.
Now, however, Rivers is signed to a five-year deal