The Philadelphia 76ers have a chance for a fresh start

DOC RIVERS HAD been officially unemployed for what seemed like 13 seconds when Daryl Morey hit up his cell.

"Come work for us!" implored the Houston Rockets' general manager.

Even though he'd seen it coming for weeks, Rivers was thoroughly wrecked by his departure from the LA Clippers and begged off. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet," he told Morey. "I might take a year off."

Rivers was wrung out. He'd been coaching for 21 straight seasons, his only hiatus the few months in between his dismissal from the Orlando Magic in November 2003 and his acceptance to become the Boston Celtics' coach the following April. His closest confidants urged him to step back, lounge on his deck, track sunsets and languidly engage in endless rounds of golf. Maybe even assess some strategies for actually sleeping through the night. Did Rivers need all that stress?