MONDAY, 11:58am: The Sixers plan to have D’Antoni join their staff within the next few weeks, writes TNT’s David Aldridge in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com.
SUNDAY, 2:47pm: The Sixers confirmed that they are talking to D’Antoni about joining the team as an associate head coach, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
SATURDAY, 8:39am: The Sixers and Mike D’Antoni are involved in discussions that could see the former NBA head coach join coach Brett Brown‘s staff as associate head coach, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. New team executive Jerry Colangelo and Brown have been speaking with D’Antoni about a role with the team that could begin later this month, Wojnarowski adds.
The move to hire D’Antoni, who has a longstanding relationship with Colangelo that includes time spent together with the Suns as well as USA Basketball, shows that the new executive is beginning to impose his influence on the franchise immediately, as the Yahoo scribe notes. The offseason departure of top assistant Chad Iske to the Kings left the concern that Brown needed to add more experience to his staff, Wojnarowski relays. The addition of the offensive-minded D’Antoni would certainly accomplish that, though how much of a difference he could make with the point guard situation in Philly so unsettled is debatable.
In many circumstances the move by a new executive to bring in one his former coaches would be a concern for the current head man. The team certainly alleviated many of those worries with the announcement on Friday that Brown and the team had agreed to a two-year contract extension. “Brett has been everything we anticipated – and more – both as a basketball coach and a partner in building this program,” GM Sam Hinkie said in the team’s official statement. “His tireless work ethic, his daily desire to consistently improve, and his resiliency line up with our core values as an organization. It was not difficult to come to the decision to formally say we want to work with Brett Brown even longer.”
D’Antoni has been a head coach for the Nuggets, Suns, Knicks and Lakers, and he owns a career regular season mark of 455-426. He has a career postseason record of 26-33, and has twice made it to the Western Conference Finals, both with Phoenix. With D’Antoni desiring another head coaching position in the league, returning to an NBA bench could serve to increase his marketability, Wojnarowski writes. If D’Antoni can do for T.J. McConnell‘s career what he did for Jeremy Lin‘s when the duo were paired up in New York, he would certainly make a strong argument for another shot at leading a team, though that is merely my speculation, of course.