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New Orleans Pelicans have interest in Doc Rivers for head coaching vacancy

One of the winningest coaches of all time is suddenly available and David Griffin is apparently intrigued.

Los Angeles Clippers v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Not an hour after he and the Los Angeles Clippers parted ways this evening, Doc Rivers was tied to the New Orleans Pelicans head coaching vacancy.

Doc Rivers is the 11th winningest NBA coach of all time (943 wins), beginning his coaching career with the Orlando Magic, but he made a name for himself in Boston. Once Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were assembled, the Celtics went on to win the championship in 2008 and reached the NBA Finals again two years later.

Rivers most recently spent the last seven seasons with the Clippers, leading them to a 356-208 record and six playoff appearances. However, many consider the 2017-18 campaign — the lone year L.A. missed the postseason under Rivers — as his best coaching job where he nearly pushed a post-CP3 squad (and only 33 games from Blake Griffin) into the playoffs amid a tough Western Conference.

Of course, Rivers has also had his share of disappointments as he’s led multiple teams to the brink of advancing into a next round but failed to do so.

Many expected this Kawhi Leonard-led Clippers team to at least challenge the Lakers for the right to the advance to the 2020 Finals, but the Denver Nuggets squeezed off three straight victories after trailing 3-1 in the second round to earn that right.

River’s trip to the Orlando bubble, however, can also be remembered in a great light — for delivering a powerful message in the fight against social injustice following a Clippers win over the Dallas Mavericks in the first round.

Personally, I am a fan of Doc Rivers and believe he can check David Griffin’s most important box in a head coaching candidate. The Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations talked extensively about wanting buy-in from the players after dismissing Alvin Gentry last month. Between Rivers’ achievements in the league and voice in the fight for social justice, there isn’t a coaching candidate who will grab the attention of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball quicker than Rivers.

As for the latest lapse with the 2020 Clippers, it’s difficult to place a majority of the blame on Rivers. Leonard played well, but Paul George alternated good appearances with awful ones and both Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell failed to remotely resemble 6th man candidates. In reality, L.A struggled all season to put things together because continuity was a major issue.

Stay tuned for further developments!

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