The Sixers’ head coaching search is getting more and more narrow.
Doc Rivers has “emerged as a serious candidate” and Mike D’Antoni “remains (the) other prominent candidate” in the search, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday. Rivers interviewed with the Sixers on Wednesday, just two days after parting ways with the Clippers.
The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported that Rivers is seen in league circles as the favorite for the Sixers job, while Tyronn Lue, Rivers’ lead assistant in Los Angeles, is the “early favorite” to replace him.
The Sixers have been searching for a head coach since Aug. 24, when they fired Brett Brown after being swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. It appears likely that they’re going to hire a new head coach before making any personnel changes higher in the organization. General manager Elton Brand said he’d been doing a “thorough assessment” of the front office.
Rivers’ availability has clearly shifted the direction of the Sixers’ search, and for good reason. A well-respected candidate with a 943-681 record, 16 playoffs appearances and an NBA title with the 2008 Celtics certainly merits consideration, at a minimum.
One presumes the Sixers had questions about the Clippers’ collapse to conclude this season. The Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals, the third time a team coached by Rivers has squandered such an advantage.
Rivers hasn’t been beyond the second round of the playoffs since his 2011-12 Celtics lost in the Eastern Conference Finals. He had three defeats in the first round and three in the second during his seven-year stint in Los Angeles.