The Sixers‘ head coaching search is believed to be down to two candidates, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who says that Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue are finalists for the job. Pompey, who previously reported that D’Antoni appeared to be the frontrunner, continues to hear buzz linking the former Rockets coach to the job and suggests that he’s the preferred choice of team ownership.
According to Pompey, some league sources are wondering how much autonomy GM Elton Brand has in the 76ers’ coaching search. Although Brand has taken much of the criticism for questionable roster moves and draft picks during the last couple years, most of those were collaborative decisions, with executive VP of basketball operations Alex Rucker among those who was “heavily involved behind the scenes,” writes Pompey.
There was a belief that the Sixers were moving away from that collaborative approach, with Brand empowered to lead the coaching search and ownership set to simply approve or deny his recommendation, but Pompey’s sources suggest it’s not clear whether that has been the case so far.
Here’s more on the 76ers:
- Brand met with Sixers ownership on Monday to discuss a new contract and is believed to be seeking a three- or four-year deal, sources tell Pompey. While there has been speculation that Philadelphia might look to hire a president of basketball operations above Brand, the latest intel from Shams Charania this week suggested that the club is only looking to fortify its front office under the GM, with Brand remaining in charge.
- Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link) is starting to hear buzz that the 76ers are letting teams know they’d be more open to trade talks if they hire D’Antoni, since they recognize their personnel isn’t necessarily conducive to his preferred style of play.
- John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link) has heard that one of the reasons the Sixers are interested in D’Antoni is a feeling that he could potentially help lure Rockets star James Harden to Philadelphia. I’d imagine the club views that possibility as more of an added bonus than a key selling point for D’Antoni’s candidacy, but it’s worth noting that Harden can reach free agency as early as 2022.