The pressure is beginning to grow within the Philadelphia 76ers organization due to the 1-4 start. Despite having two MVP-caliber players, a blossoming star in Tyrese Maxey, and an upgraded bench rotation, the Sixers have failed to find team success thus far. The Sixers have not been able to click on either side of the ball and the lack of effort has been a major concern. This has been most evident in the poor transition defense, but can be seen in other areas of the game as well.
Much of this blame is being directed toward Doc Rivers. The veteran head coach has not been a fan-favorite for most of his tenure and the feelings that he is not getting the best results out of the team in front of him are growing. This has been shown in recent odds movement as Rivers is now the betting favorite to be the first head coach fired via SportsBetting.ag.
Doc Rivers’ Role With Sixers
There are reasons to be critical of Rivers’ tenure with the team but the financial aspect of things must also be acknowledged. The 61-year-old is in his third season as head coach of the Sixers and has two years remaining on his contract following this season. Rivers signed a five-year contract worth $40 million in total which is a lucrative price for a head coach. Rivers is tied with Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra for the third-highest-paid coach in the NBA. Only Gregg Popovich of the Spurs and Steve Kerr of the Warriors are paid more.
It also is important to consider that Rivers was hired by the Sixers before Daryl Morey’s arrival. During his tenure with the Clippers, Rivers had personnel control in addition to his coaching responsibility. It has been reported that this has not been the case with the Sixers, but Morey has publically stated it is a collaborative relationship when making decisions.
Rivers and Morey did cross paths when working for the Boston Celtics for roughly two years before Morey left for the Rockets. It should be noted that Morey worked on the analytical side of things while Rivers was the coach, so it is unclear how much they interacted. It has been reported by Derek Bodner of The Daily Six that he “heard that they weren’t super close when they were in Boston together.”
Insiders Agree Doc Could Be On His Way Out?
The whispers about Rivers’ potential exit continue to grow louder. On a recent episode of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe stated- “Doc Rivers, Bill Simmons has been saying for weeks on his podcast Doc could be the first coach fired. Certainly people are chattering about that in the league ecosystem, but I don’t know how much that chatter is actually reality and this is Daryl Morey’s team. This is this is the [Houston] Rockets reunion tour. This is ‘I waited on my long lost love James Harden. I waited and waited and got him back’ this is it. Like this is the team and they’ve just got to be better than this.”
It will be interesting to see how Rivers’ future plays out with the Sixers. There is a lot at stake for the franchise this season and the underperformance to begin the season is not a good look for any of the parties involved. Winning tends to be the best cure for everything and these whispers will be quieted if the Sixers begin getting back on the right track. However, if the level of play does not continue it will be discovered how long the leash is on Rivers’ tenure.