The Sixers have confidence in coach Doc Rivers to lead the team to a title now that James Harden has been paired up with Joel Embiid, a source tells Marc Stein (Substack link). Philadelphia hasn’t won an NBA championship in 39 years and Rivers has a recent history of playoff disappointments, but team officials believe he can oversee the new partnership.
Shortly after the trade with the Nets was completed, Stein heard rumors that the Sixers might be considering Mike D’Antoni, who coached Harden for four years in Houston. D’Antoni is currently serving as a coaching advisor to the Pelicans after spending last season with Harden as an assistant in Brooklyn.
However, Stein’s source insists that Rivers’ job is safe, saying he gained admiration from ownership and the front office with the way he guided the team through the distractions caused by Ben Simmons‘ absence.
Stein offers more inside information from around the league:
- Goran Dragic met with the Nets on Friday as he considers his next team following a buyout with the Spurs. Coach Steve Nash served as a mentor when Dragic entered the NBA with the Suns and has been the team’s lead recruiter for the free agent guard. Along with Brooklyn, Stein cites the Bucks, Bulls, Warriors and Clippers as the top suitors for Dragic. He’s been “really open-minded” to the offers from each team, a source tells Stein.
- Magic veterans Gary Harris and Robin Lopez haven’t pushed for buyouts so far, according to Stein’s sources, who add that Harris may want to stay in Orlando in hopes of re-signing during the offseason. There was talk that Lopez might join his brother in Milwaukee after a buyout, Stein states, but the recent additions of Greg Monroe and Serge Ibaka may have quelled the Bucks‘ interest (though Monroe’s most recent 10-day contract has expired). Golden State may need another center for the playoffs, and Stein sees Lopez as a potential “home run” for the Warriors if he becomes available.
- Small guarantees for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans in the final year of their contracts motivated the Mavericks to acquire them in last week’s trade for Kristaps Porzingis. Dinwiddie has just a $10MM guarantee on his $18.9MM salary for 2023/24, while Bertans carries a $5MM guarantee on his $16MM salary for 2024/25. Dallas is hoping those limited guarantees will make both contracts easier to trade.