Brett Brown lost two prominent pieces of his coaching staff in Monty Williams and Billy Lange.
It appears both those vacancies have been filled as the team announced Wednesday the hiring of Ime Udoka and Joseph Blair.
A team source confirmed a report earlier this month that the Sixers were bringing in Udoka. Udoka spent seven seasons on Gregg Popvich’s staff in San Antonio after spending over a decade as a professional player in the NBA and overseas. He’s been a head coaching candidate in the past, most recently interviewing for the Cavaliers job before the team hired Michigan coach John Beilein.
Udoka and Brown were on the Spurs staff together before Brown took the Sixers job.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with Brett in Philadelphia,” Udoka said in a statement. “He has done a great job building a respected program and I look forward to joining his staff. This is a wonderful opportunity and I embrace the challenge of taking the next step in my career. I am excited to get to work and help this extremely talented roster continue to achieve success at the highest level.”
Blair was the surprise hire. He’s fresh off leading the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the G-League affiliate of the Rockets, to a title as the team’s head coach. The last coach to win a title with Rio Grande Valley? Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. Before that, Blair was an assistant with the Vipers after serving as an assistant for his alma mater, the University of Arizona. The 6-foot-10 Blair also has a history as a player, playing professionally overseas, and he had a couple stints as a Harlem Globetrotter.
"I'm honored and excited to work alongside Brett, this staff, and team, as well as being a part of such a historic, respected, and energetic organization,” Blair said in a statement. “I look forward to learning, growing, and adding value, all while producing positive results for the city and the organization."
The team hired another former Spurs assistant in Cameron Hodges as part of their player development staff this offseason. They also promoted Lindsey Harding from scout to a player development coach toward the end of the season after Lange departed to take the head job at Saint Joseph’s. Williams took the head coaching job with the Suns, leaving the door open for Udoka to serve as Brown’s top assistant.
“I am excited and proud to welcome Ime and Joseph to our program,” Brown said in a statement. “The depth of basketball knowledge and experience that each brings to our bench will be integral in furthering the success we have enjoyed over the last two seasons.”
“Our players will continue to develop and improve under their direction and they will help me strive to guide our team toward our ultimate goal of winning a championship.”
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