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5 Potential Replacements for Doc Rivers in Los Angeles
Is Doc Rivers really an elite coach?
In the history of professional sports, he’s the only HC who has blown a 3-1 lead in a playoff series three separate times. In seven seasons in Los Angeles with loaded rosters virtually every year, Doc won a total of three series and never advanced to a single conference final.
Cutting ties with Rivers was the obvious move for the Clips organization, and now the search begins.
Perhaps the most attractive job of any of the NBA head coaching vacancies, who’s next in line to become the Clippers next head coach?
Here are 5 worthy candidates.
After spending this past season on the Clippers bench as an assistant, Ty Lue is the odds-on favorite to be hired as the Clippers next head coach. The former Cavaliers lead man has forged a bond with the current roster, not to mention, has great relationships with several key figures around the league.
Hiring Lue could be the catalyst into luring another big name into town, and there’s no doubt Ty’s armed with the credentials that Steve Ballmer will be looking for in his next head coach.
Los Angeles won’t be Lue’s only suitor, though, so it could be a situation where Ty has his pick of the litter.
Jeff Van Gundy
If another team plucks Ty Lue from the head coaching carousel, current ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy is another name who could land in La La Land. This isn’t some baseless rumor, this is according to NBA leading insider, Adrian Wojnarowski.
Anytime Woj links your name to a job, it’s got some substantial headway.
Van Gundy hasn’t coached since he was roaming the Rockets sidelines in 2007 and seems more than content with his gig on TV. Nevertheless, Jeff told Charlie Ward (one of his former players in New York) in an interview that he would be “open” to being a head coach again if the situation was right.
Ballmer’s got the deepest pockets in the NBA and the Clips have a pair of superstars on their roster. I’d call that a pretty desirable situation.
Lurking as an outsider to become the Clippers next head coach at the top NBA betting sites, Jason Kidd is a name I’m keeping tabs on.
Receiving rave reviews for his work as a Lakers assistant this season, don’t expect Kidd to return to Frank Vogel’s staff in 2020-21. The Pelicans and Rockets are among other organizations that could come calling, but staying in Los Angeles and swapping out Purple and Gold for “Royal Blue and Red” might be the best fit.
Kidd’s experience as a star player in this league bodes well for his ability to manage the likes of Leonard and George. He also received a vote of confidence from another Hall of Fame point guard, Gary Payton. After naming Ty Lue as an appropriate replacement to Doc Rivers in LA, “The Glove” threw Jason Kidd’s name in the ring.
Staying on theme with ultra-respected former NBA point guards, Chauncey Billups is another name that could intrigue Steve Ballmer and team president Lawrence Frank. We just saw Steve Nash get hired in Brooklyn without any prior experience on the sidelines, and Billups is presumably equally qualified.
As far as understanding the Clippers roster and being in tune with its strengths and weaknesses, is there anyone from an unbiased position as qualified as Chauncey?
The current Clips broadcaster knows this team in and out, plus he’s a former NBA champion and one of the best defensive-minded PGs the game has ever seen. Billups is also being looked at as a potential candidate to become a GM – emphasizing the respect he has garnered from his peers around the league.
If none of the names highlighted above wind up as the Clippers next head coach, Steve Ballmer could target Mark Jackson. After all, Ballmer seems keen on running through the Rolodex of former point guards who are now ESPN analysts.
Of course, if there is any truth to Mark Jacksons’ claims that the Warriors tried to blackball him, he might not fit so well in Los Angeles.
With that being said, Steve Ballmer is far from a follower and isn’t afraid to make a bold decision. If the Clips owner believes deep down that Jackson can lead his team to The Promised Land, he could care less what anyone else around the NBA thinks.
Would one of the most liberal cities in America support a head coach with such firm beliefs? If he brought the Clippers a championship in his first year at the helm, I give it a resounding “yes.”