Doc Rivers extended one of the more dubious streaks in coaching on Sunday. Despite entering each of the past four seasons with championship expectations, he has managed to lose in the second round four years in a row. His teams led three of the four series after five games, and his team had the higher seed in two of those collapses. Sunday was perhaps the worst of them all. Despite leading for most of the first half, the 76ers fell apart against the Boston Celtics, Rivers' former team, in a 33-10 third-quarter debacle. That gave Rivers his NBA record 10th Game 7 loss. No other head coach has more than five Game 7 losses.
As such, questions have immediately arisen surrounding Rivers' job security. While he initially signed a five-year deal to take over the 76ers in 2020, each playoff defeat has been more devastating than the last and the 76ers will now have to consider whether or not they want to give Rivers the chance to lead them for a fourth season. Rivers addressed the rumors at his post-game press conference Sunday, and while he wouldn't deny the inherent insecurity of his profession, he did suggest that he plans to be back next season. "Yeah. I think I got two years left," Rivers said. "No one is safe in our business and I get that."
Rivers isn't the only notable 76er whose future is in question. James Harden can be a free agent after re-signing in Philadelphia on a one-year deal with a player option for a second. Rumors have linked him to his old team, the Houston Rockets, all season. He claimed that he has not thought about free agency yet, but that he thinks his current team still has room to grow. "It's only Year 1 for us together," Harden said.
Looming over every decision Philadelphia makes this offseason is Joel Embiid's future. While the MVP winner is under contract for at least three more seasons, superstars are rarely satisfied with humiliating playoff defeats on a seemingly annual basis. All it will take to upend this franchise is one trade request. Embiid has given no indication yet that he plans to leave Philadelphia, but NBA history tells us that he won't be satisfied with second-round exits forever. Embiid did comment on Rivers' future in Philly after Game 7, saying the coach has done a "fantastic job."
Joel Embiid said Doc Rivers has done a “fantastic job” and that “he should be fine.” He then said the other coaches around the league who have been let go didn’t deserve to be, including Monty Williams and Mike Budenholzer.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 14, 2023
Embiid concludes by saying Rivers has done a great job.
That is going to inform whatever the 76ers do with Rivers, Harden and the rest of their team this offseason. The clock was already ticking. After what happened on Sunday, Philadelphia will have to make major moves to keep their best player happy. The logical place to start that process would be with a new coach.