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76ers hire Doc Rivers as head coach

Doc Rivers has been named the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, the team officially announced.

Doc Rivers has been named the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, the team officially announced on Saturday.

Rivers became available on the coaching market earlier this week when he and the LA Clippers parted ways. He went 356-208 over seven seasons with LA.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the news of Philadelphia’s hire.

Rivers, 58, takes over for Brett Brown, who was fired after the 76ers were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Philadelphia is headlined by former top Draft picks Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, who both became All-Stars and led the Sixers to two straight trips to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

But Simmons missed the 2020 postseason with a knee injury and neither Embiid nor the players brought in recent years could provide enough scoring in clutch situations against Boston.

The Sixers believed they were ready to contend for their first championship in 37 years and Brand spent $180 million to re-sign Tobias Harris and nearly $100 million to sign free agent Al Horford away from Boston.

Instead, the Sixers had only snippets of consistent success and Brown paid the price. The longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant was let go on a contract that runs through the 2021-2022 season.

General manager Elton Brand said after he fired Brown he would evaluate the front office and consider more changes but doesn’t plan to trade either of his two top stars.

“I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel,” Brand said days after the season ended. “I’m looking to complement them better. They are 24 and 26 years old, respectively. You try to make that fit as long as you can. They want to be here, they want to be with our organization and I see them here for a long, long time.”

Brand has not made any changes to the front office while he settled on a coach. Tyronn Lue, who coached LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA championship, and Mike D’Antoni, who departed from the Houston Rockets, also were in contention for Rivers’ job.

Rivers went 356-208 over seven seasons with the Clippers, taking them to the West second round three times. Rivers, who played 13 seasons in the NBA, hiring means the league remains at four Black coaches currently with jobs. He is 1,624-943 in nearly 21 seasons as an NBA coach. He was the 1999-00 NBA Coach of the Year.

Rivers visited with Brand and Sixers ownership Wednesday and the organization wasted little time striking to make a deal with the 58-year-old coach.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.