The Sixers have lost a member of last season's coaching staff.
Popeye Jones is taking an assistant coaching position with the Nuggets, sources confirmed Monday to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears first reported the news.
Jones, a former NBA power forward who played for Denver during the 1999-2000 season, spent one season under Sixers head coach Doc Rivers after seven years as a Pacers assistant.
Following one year with MVP runner-up Joel Embiid, Jones will coach superstar big man Nikola Jokic, who beat Embiid out for the award.
Spears reports Jones will be “back on the front of the bench with Michael Malone’s staff.” With the Sixers, Dan Burke, Dave Joerger and Sam Cassell were top assistants. Burke coordinated the team’s defense, Joerger helped install new offensive concepts and Cassell worked closely with individual players, including Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris. All three coaches communicated regularly with Rivers during games.
Rivers thought very highly of his staff as a whole.
“It’s the best staff I’ve had, maybe ever,” Rivers said last month. “Dan Burke and Dave Joerger and Sam Cassell — I don’t think I’ve ever had a better bench as far as knowledge. I thought we ran just some beautiful things defensively and offensively.”
The news of Jones’ departure comes at the start of a pivotal two weeks for the Sixers. The NBA draft is set for Thursday night. Free agency negotiations can officially begin next Monday at 6 p.m. ET. The futures of Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard are among the league's foremost storylines.