Former NBA head coach and current ESPN NBA analyst Doc Rivers appears to be preparing to jump back into the coaching ranks.
Rivers is ironing out the details of an agreement to become the next head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, ESPN reported Wednesday.
Adrian Griffin’s short run with the Bucks came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when the first-year head coach was suddenly dismissed after just 43 games. Griffin’s ousting also comes despite the Bucks’ 30-13 record and current No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Bucks general manager Jon Horst described Griffin’s firing as a “difficult decision to make during the season.”
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Rivers most recently was the top coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, leading the team to three straight Eastern Conference semifinals appearances. Rivers and the Sixers parted ways last May shortly after Philly’s latest playoff exit.
The 62-year-old has also served as the head coach of the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics. He won an NBA title with Boston in 2008.
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The Atlanta Hawks drafted Rivers in the second round of the 1983 NBA Draft, and he was named to the All-Star team in 1988.
During Tuesday’s edition of TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” co-host and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal praised Rivers’ resume.
“He does have championship experience. He does have experience with dealing with large-name individuals, superstars,” O’Neal said. “For so long, he’s just been surviving off that one championship so I would like to see him get another one.”
Rivers does have ties to Milwaukee. He played college basketball at Marquette, where he received All-American honors.
The Bucks won the championship in 2021, but dismissed coach Mike Budenholzer last May after a first-round postseason exit. The Bucks acquired superstar guard Damian Lillard this offseason, which further bolstered the organization’s championship expectations.
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Rivers will likely have the opportunity to coach Lillard, two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, All-Star Khris Middleton, and other key contributors. But, Rivers will have to overcome his recent postseason hiccups, which include 10 Game 7 losses in his career.