After parting ways with Doc Rivers, the Philadelphia 76ers are on the prowl for their next head coach. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported which title-winning coach is meeting with them for the vacant head coach position.
“Former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is meeting with Sixers ownership and management this week coming up in regards to the vacant head-coaching position, according to league sources,” Pompey wrote via his personal Twitter.
Following Rivers’ firing, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on May 16 that Nurse was among the candidates to replace Rivers, which was later reaffirmed in a report by Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer two days later.
“At this juncture, Philadelphia’s process to replace former head coach Doc Rivers is not expected to grow beyond the Sixers’ initial list of Budenholzer, Williams, Vogel, Philadelphia assistant Sam Cassell, former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse,” Fischer wrote.
Nurse won a title with the Raptors in his first year as head coach during the 2018-19 season, where he then guided them to two more playoff berths before parting ways with them shortly after the 2022-23 season.
Joel Embiid Was ‘Shocked’ By Doc Rivers’ Firing, Trade
After Rivers’ firing, Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey detailed Joel Embiid’s reactions to the Sixers’ decisions like firing Rivers as well as some of the moves that Morey had made.
“They had a strong relationship,” Morey said before pivoting to follow another train of thought about an unspecified trade the Sixers had made. “I have to make tough calls all the time with trades. Joel was disappointed. … Some of it was [that] he didn’t know the player we were getting in the trade, who ended up helping us, but he was disappointed in the players that went out. I think it’s natural to be very close with the people in the locker room.”
Morey did not go into specifics as to which trade he was referring to, but it’s possible it was a reference to when the Sixers traded Matisse Thybulle, one of the longest-tenured Sixers, for Jalen McDaniels.
Morey added that Embiid was shocked that Rivers was canned and that it’s on Morey to get a coach who Embiid will have a good rapport with, much like how he did when he was coached by Rivers.
“He was very close with Coach Rivers, and yeah, he was shocked about the change,” Morey said. “It’s my job to help convince him that the new coach is someone that he’ll have a great relationship with as well.”
James Harden Was ‘Driving Force’ Behind Doc Rivers Firing
In the same report in which Fischer revealed who the candidates were to replace Rivers, Fischer added that James Harden was, in fact, the one who pushed for Rivers’ firing.
“Several members of Rivers’ staff, sources said, have pointed to All-Star point guard James Harden — whom league personnel are expecting to decline his player option in search of a long-term contract — as a driving force behind Rivers’ departure,” Fischer wrote in a story published May 18.
Though Rivers is now out of the picture as head coach, there’s no guarantee that Harden will stick around with the Sixers past this season.