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Los Angeles Clippers, head coach Doc Rivers part ways after seven seasons

Los Angeles Clippers, head coach Doc Rivers part ways after seven seasons
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers guided the team to a 356-208 record in seven seasons. File Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Doc Rivers has stepped down as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after seven seasons and another disappointing finish in the playoffs.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer called it a "mutual decision" after the team fell short of their championship expectations following the acquisitions of stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George before the season.

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"Doc has been a terrific coach for the Clippers, an incredible ambassador, and a pillar of strength during tumultuous times," Ballmer said in a statement Monday. "He won a heck of a lot of games and laid a foundation for this franchise.

"I am immeasurably grateful to Doc for his commitment and contributions to the Clippers and the city of Los Angeles. I am also extremely confident in our front office and our players. We will find the right coach to lead us forward and help us reach our ultimate goals. We will begin the search and interview process immediately."

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The Clippers posted a 49-23 record in the regular season -- the fourth-best record in franchise history -- but blew a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets. In that series, Los Angeles surrendered multiple double-digit leads to extend the organization's Western Conference finals drought to 50 years.

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"Thank you Clipper Nation for allowing me to be your coach and for all your support in helping make this a winning franchise," Rivers said in a statement posted to Twitter. "When I took this job, my goals were to make this a winning basketball program, a free agent destination, and bring a championship to this organization.

"While I was able to accomplish most of my goals, I won't be able to see them all through. Though it was a disappointing ending to our season, you are right there and I know what this team is capable of accomplishing with your support.

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"Thank you to all the players, coaches and staff for helping us get here. Most importantly, thank you to the fans. We went through a lot, and I am grateful for my time here."

Rivers took over as Clippers coach in June 2013. In Rivers' seven seasons at the helm, the team posted a 356-208 record -- the fifth-best mark in the NBA and the best by any team without a trip to the conference finals.

The Clippers' coaching job becomes the sixth vacancy in the league, along with the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans. The New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls have already filled their openings.

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