On the heels of signing head coach Brett Brown to a contract extension and bringing Jerry Colangelo on as chairman of basketball operations, the Philadelphia 76ers are poised to make another move, talking to Mike D’Antoni about joining the staff as an associate head coach, Yahoo! Sports reports.
D’Antoni could join the Sixers later this month, and his addition would ease concerns about the lack of experience on Brown’s staff, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
D’Antoni, 64, previously was head coach of the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers but has been out of the game since stepping down from the Lakers following the 2013-14 season. However, his name has come up in connection with vacancies, including the Nuggets’ this past offseason.
He has ties to Colangelo, formerly the Suns owner and the longtime cornerstone of the franchise, from their time in Phoenix. Colangelo also is the chairman of USA Basketball, and D’Antoni has served on Team USA’s staff.
D’Antoni saw his most success as head coach of the Suns from 2003 to ’08, reaching two Western Conference finals and being named the 2004-05 NBA coach of the year. His high-powered “Seven Seconds or Less” offense revolutionized the game. However, he didn’t achieve the same results with the Knicks and Lakers.
The 76ers made moves this week to both shake up a franchise sunk in a rebuilding process and provide stability for the work ahead. Colangelo was named chairman of basketball operations Monday and will serve as an adviser to team ownership. Brown received a two-year contract extension Friday that will carry him through the 2018-19 season.
The Sixers are mired at the bottom of the standings, with a 1-23 record on the season after a 107-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. They went 18-64 last season and 19-63 in 2013-14. They set the NBA record for consecutive losses with 28: the final 10 of last season and the first 18 of this season. They haven’t won a championships since 1983.
Colangelo’s arrival marked a concession of sorts that team president and general manager Sam Hinkie’s plan — known in Philly as both “The Process” and “Tankadelphia” — of gambling on lottery picks to eventually build a contender was moving at a glacial place.
There is hope that Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, injured center Joel Embiid and overseas prospect Dario Saric will blossom into All-Stars and at least one, maybe two, will become franchise-type players.
Based on how some other teams fare, the Sixers could have four first-round picks in the 2016 draft. They also have a state-of-the-art practice facility set to open next year in Camden, New Jersey.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.