The future of Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers became uncertain this week.
After being suspended eight games without pay in March for displaying a gun on his Instagram account while in a nightclub, Morant was filmed yet again live on Instagram with a gun. The Grizzlies have already suspended Morant from all team activities, and the NBA could potentially hand down a lengthy suspension for next season.
Rivers on the other hand was fired by the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday just two days after the team’s 112-88 Game 7 playoff loss the the Boston Celtics.
It hasn’t been the best week for Rivers and Morant, but former NBA All-Star Dwight Howard may have found a solution to their troubles. After 18 years in the NBA, Howard took his talents overseas, signing with the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan in 2022. And recent tweets from Howard suggest that he’d like Morant and Rivers to team up alongside him.
Howard tweeted Monday, “Aye Ja you gone get it right ! I’m still with you if anyone else ain’t you could come out here to Taiwan if anything… just leave it home,” directed at Morant. And his message for Rivers Tuesday said, “We’ll need a Great coach for this Dreamteam… #Taiwan.”
The T1 League named Howard the league’s Most Valuable Import in the 2022-2023 season, also earning All-T1 League First Team honors and All-Defensive First Team. Morant and Rivers would likely fill their trophy cases as well if they joined Howard’s ‘Dreamteam’, but their likelihood of taking their talents to Taiwan is presumably slim.
Philadelphia 76ers fire Doc Rivers after early NBA playoffs exit
The Philadelphia 76ers are in the market for a new head coach. The team has fired Doc Rivers following a 4-3 series loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, per ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Boston defeated Philadelphia 112-88 to advance to the NBA‘s Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday. The 76ers owned a 3-2 series lead before dropping the final two games.
Rivers lasted three seasons in Philadelphia, leading the team to the Eastern Conference semifinals every year. However, the Sixers never got over the hump to advance past that point.
Philadelphia improved its win total every year under Rivers. The Sixers owned a 49-23 record (72 games) in Rivers’ first season (2020-21). They then posted a 51-31 mark during the 2021-22 campaign and won 54 games this past season.
Rivers is a Hall of Fame level coach, but clearly the Sixers believed it was time to move on after failing to advance past the semifinal round of the playoffs.
Rivers’ coaching days date back to 1999, when he landed his first head coaching gig with the Orlando Magic (1999-2003). He’s also led the Celtics (2004-13) and Los Angeles Clippers (2013-20).
The three-year run in Philly was the shortest stop on Rivers’ resumé. Over the course of more than two decades on the sidelines, Rivers has won 1,860 games and owns a .590 winning percentage.
Rivers’ teams have made 19 playoff appearances and he led the Celtics to an NBA championship during the 2007-08 season. He made one more Finals run with Boston at the end of the 2009-10 campaign.