The Sixers, led by general manager Elton Brand, have met with a handful of top candidates for their head coaching job and are expected to bring a short list of candidates to the Philadelphia area within the next 10 days for a second round of interviews, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
According to Charania, Mike D’Antoni, Billy Donovan, and Tyronn Lue are expected to be on the 76ers’ short list and are “strongly vying” for the position.
The Sixers have been linked to several other potential candidates – including Dave Joerger, Darvin Ham, and Mike Brown – as they seek a replacement for Brett Brown. However, Lue was considered an early frontrunner for the position and D’Antoni and Donovan emerged as viable alternatives after they parted ways with their respective teams. It seems increasingly likely that Philadelphia’s next head coach will come from that trio.
Meanwhile, although a recent report suggested that the Sixers may be considering hiring a president of basketball operations to lead their front office, Charania says the organization remains committed to adding talent under Brand to “further strengthen the front office.” Brand, who is leading the head coaching search, continues to be the head of basketball operations in Philadelphia, according to Charania, who adds that the GM is well-respected by agents and executives around the NBA.
- The Sixers are considering a front office shakeup that would include the addition of a president of basketball operations, sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. One source indicated that Trail Blazers executive Neil Olshey may be interested, but only if he has complete control over basketball decisions as both president and general manager. Rumors have surrounded former Hawks executive Danny Ferry, but the Sixers are denying that he’s a potential candidate. A source says the team plans to ask about Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Pacers president Kevin Pritchard, but the source doesn’t expect either to wind up in Philadelphia.
After the Sixers were swept out of the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the team fired longtime head coach Brett Brown, who had survived several front office shakeups. But the on-court personnel could use some changes, too. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer makes the case for a Chris Paul trade.
Paul, an All-Star in 2020 during his first season with the Thunder, is scheduled to earn $41.3M and $44.2M in the final two years of his current contract. The 35-year-old point guard could give All-Star guard/forward Ben Simmons more off-ball opportunities and serve as a first-rate facilitator for All-Star center Joel Embiid.
There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- New Nets head coach Steve Nash acknowledges that he was brought on board with the franchise because of his interpersonal relationships and culture-building skills, rather than his knowledge of X’s and O’s. “I think they understand that my acumen for the game is strong and I can catch up on any of the tactical aspects,” Nash told Pelicans guard J.J. Redick in a recent edition of Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast (per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News). “I think they hired me because of my experience, the personality to work with these guys and help them grow and reach their potential and bring it all together.”
- Following an emotional postgame locker room conversation, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens held a late-evening hotel meeting with four of his frustrated stars, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart met with Stevens to unpack their feelings following a Game 2 loss to the Heat that puts Boston in an 0-2 hole for the Eastern Conference Finals.
- Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is hoping to return to action for Game 3 on Saturday, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hayward’s addition to the active roster would give Boston much-needed lineup flexibility and shooting help.
As Bontemps points out, this is the first time Hayward has been upgraded from “out” since he suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics replaced Hayward in the starting lineup with Marcus Smart, who is averaging 15.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 4.2 APG.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- After losing the development rights to Penn’s Landing to a rival bidder last week, the Sixers have signaled their dissatisfaction with playing at the Wells Fargo Center, writes Jacob Adelman of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers want their own arena for a variety of reasons, including the ability to gain schedule flexibility, which they currently do not have. Philadelphia’s lease at the Wells Fargo Center reportedly runs out in 2031. The Inquirer goes on to lists various locations within Philadelphia that the Sixers could use to build their new arena.
- Long Island Nets guard Devin Cannady spoke with Alex Schiffer of The Athletic about working out with Nets superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Los Angeles. The NBA G League guard recalled a game of 2-on-2 where he had trouble defending Irving. Durant stopped the game and instead gave tips Cannady to help him. “If I got the confidence from KD,” Cannady said to Schiffer. “Then I don’t need to hold back anymore at all.” The former Princeton standout also said that Durant looks good and healthy in the workouts.
- One of the reasons why Kawhi Leonard wanted to go to the Clippers is because he felt the Raptors weren’t good enough to repeat, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN (Twitter link). The Finals MVP reportedly said this last summer in his meeting with Toronto’s front office. Leonard ultimately ended up signing a three-year deal with Los Angeles and teaming up with Paul George. However, his old team didn’t experience a significant drop-off, finishing with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and losing in Game 7 of the Eastern Semifinals.
- With the Raptors’ season coming to an end last week, Blake Murphy of The Athletic explains what it would take to re-sign Fred VanVleet while also maintaining max cap space for the 2021 offseason. VanVleet is set to be an unrestricted free agent and is reportedly expected to receive interest from the Knicks, Pistons, and Suns. Murphy details various scenarios involving OG Anunoby‘s rookie-scale extension, which he is eligible for this offseason, the 2021 free-agent class, and Norman Powell‘s player option.
The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.
The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.
All-NBA First Team
- Guard: James Harden, Rockets (474)
- Guard: Luka Doncic, Mavericks (416)
- Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (500)
- Forward: LeBron James, Lakers (500)
- Center: Anthony Davis, Lakers (455)
All-NBA Second Team
- Guard: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers (284)
- Guard: Chris Paul, Thunder (199)
- Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Clippers (371)
- Forward: Pascal Siakam, Raptors (168)
- Center: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (311)
All-NBA Third Team
- Guard: Ben Simmons, Sixers (61)
- Guard: Russell Westbrook, Rockets (56)
- Forward: Jayson Tatum, Celtics (153)
- Forward: Jimmy Butler, Heat (147)
- Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz (110)
Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.
Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.
The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.
While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.
Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.
Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Sixers are expected to conduct interviews this week with Mike D’Antoni and Billy Donovan for their head coaching job, reports Jason Dumas of KRON4 News (Twitter link).
Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer confirms that D’Antoni is set to interview with Philadelphia in the coming days, though he cautioned that – as of Tuesday – exact dates for D’Antoni’s meeting and others had yet to be finalized.
While one source who spoke to Pompey indicated that the 76ers’ job may be D’Antoni’s to lose, a team source tells The Inquirer that ownership won’t make any final decisions on which candidate it wants until interviews have been completed.
D’Antoni has also been linked to the Pacers’ head coaching vacancy, among others, so it’s possible that he and the Sixers are using one another for leverage — D’Antoni to create a bidding war for his services and the 76ers to lower the asking price of Tyronn Lue or another candidate. However, Pompey writes that Philadelphia’s interest in D’Antoni appears to be real.
It’s unclear if Philadelphia has a specific timeline in mind to finalize a hire, but with Lue’s Clippers no longer alive in the postseason, there should be few obstacles standing in the way of the Sixers interviewing any of the candidates reported to be on their list.
- Rich Hofmann of The Athletic takes a closer look at Mike D’Antoni, exploring whether the former Houston head coach would be a good fit on the Sixers‘ bench.
- Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue remains the best option for the Sixers as they search for a new head coach, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Lue and the Sixers both share a mutual interest for the position, according to Pompey, which was vacated when the team fired Brett Brown after a disappointing 2019/20 season.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has informed team ownership that he intends to become a coaching free agent and won’t return to Houston next season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
D’Antoni had been on an expiring contract, having turned down extension offers from the Rockets prior to the season.
General manager Daryl Morey had said after Houston’s Game 1 win over the Lakers in the second round that the team wanted to retain D’Antoni. However, there was always a sense that the two sides may not continue their relationship, especially since Houston’s preseason extension offers were short-term and included incentives. That sense only increased after the Rockets lost four straight games to the Lakers and were eliminated from the postseason.
D’Antoni, who joined the Rockets in 2016, led the organization to a 217-101 (.682) record over four seasons and won at least one playoff series in each of those four years, earning Coach of the Year honors in 2017.
Despite championship aspirations during that time, the club never got over the hump and reached the NBA Finals, having been eliminated twice by the Warriors, once by the Spurs, and now once by the Lakers.
Having confirmed his departure from Houston in a statement (link via Woj), D’Antoni is now expected to be among the candidates considered by the Sixers as they seek a new head coach, per ESPN. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets that there have been rumblings for weeks that D’Antoni may be headed to the Pelicans, though an earlier report suggested those rumors may be overstated. He has also been linked to the Pacers.
The Rockets, meanwhile, are likely to take a close look at Tyronn Lue as they weigh potential replacements for D’Antoni, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.