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Daryl Morey: Doc Rivers will return as 76ers coach in 2022-23

Philadelphia says it plans to stick with Doc Rivers, who has coached the team since the 2020-21 season.

After the 76ers' exit, Doc Rivers gets philosophical about winning and losing.

The Philadelphia 76ers are still dealing with their second straight loss in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but they will not be changing who coaches the team next season.

Daryl Morey, the Sixers’ president of basketball operations, told reporters Friday that coach Doc Rivers will return as coach in 2022-23. Rivers has been with the Sixers since the 2020-21 season and led the team to a 51-31 record this past campaign.

The Sixers were eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday night when the Miami Heat beat Philadelphia 99-90 in Game 6 of the series. Last season, the 76ers made the Eastern Conference semifinals as the No. 1 overall seed in the conference but were upset in Game 7 at home by the Atlanta Hawks.

Rivers is signed through the 2024-25 season.

“I don’t worry about my job. I think I do a terrific job. If you don’t, then you should write it,” Rivers said Thursday night. “Because I worked my butt off to get this team here. When I first got here, no one picked us to be anywhere. Again this year, the same thing. If that’s how anyone feels, write it. I’m going to feel secure about it.”

Philadelphia faces a key offseason, particularly in regard to star guard James Harden. The 76ers acquired him at the trade deadline and had mixed results at best with him in the playoffs.

James Harden's 11-point showing in Game 6 was a troubling sign for Philadelphia in its 2022 playoff exit.

He had a fantastic Game 4 at home against Miami but otherwise was plagued by turnovers. When he lost another ball that led to a Heat bucket and an 80-63 lead in the fourth quarter of Game 6, the Sixers were booed off the court.

Harden scored all of his 11 points in the first half. He had four turnovers and four baskets. Harden, who has a $47.4 million player option for 2022-23, missed both shots in the second half and scored his last basket at the 3:31 mark of the second quarter.

In his comments Friday, Morey said he plans to see Harden back in the mix come next season and is hopeful he will be a part of the team come training camp in the fall.

“The plan is to have him back. That’s been the plan since the trade,” Morey said. “Obviously, we have to work with his representation, and that’ll be between us to figure out how that works.

“A full offseason, a full training camp, a full time where everyone can learn to unlock how good everyone can be together. That group — Joel, James, Tobias [Harris], [Tyrese] Maxey — that group played very well together. We can play even better.”

Few in Philly would give “The Beard” a passing grade, though, after his showing in the playoffs. All that said, Harden said he would return next season.

“I’m sure since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden,” Embiid said. “But that’s not who he is anymore.”

The Sixers' 2021-22 season ends with a bevy of questions to answer.

Embiid again gutted out a postseason game in his mask (right orbital fracture) and will have surgery on torn ligaments in his right thumb. He was only cleared to return last week from a concussion. He held the back of his head after he knocked it on the court after a fall late in the second quarter. Embiid still played 22 minutes in the first half of Game 6 and scored 14 points.

He missed the first two games of the series as he recovered from the concussion. The Sixers lost both games in Miami. Would a healthy Embiid have made a difference? Maybe not, but it’s still another sudden end to the All-Star cornerstone who has yet to taste a conference final. Maybe he would have played in one or two had Butler stuck around.

“At some point, you’ve got to stop looking at coaches and the front office,” Embiid said. “You’ve got to look at the players. Maybe we’re just not good enough.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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