Mike D’Antoni Clear Favorite For 76ers Head Coaching Job

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The Philadelphia 76ers are the best remaining team in the NBA without a head coach.

That said, most insiders don’t expect the position to stay vacant for long.

Former Houston Rockets head coach, Mike D’Antoni, is viewed as the clear favorite to fill the opening.

According to Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer, the job is D’Antoni’s to lose.

“Sources have been saying for weeks that the job is D’Antoni’s to turn down,” he wrote.

“They say he’s the guy the ownership group wants. One source even said the 69-year-old would have to bomb his interview with the Sixers owners not to be offered the job.”

Last week, Pompey reported that Sixers GM Elton Brand was making a heavy push for D’Antoni.

“Brand is pushing hard for the Sixers to hire D’Antoni and that Joel Embiid gave his blessing,” he reported.

D’Antoni’s appeal is clear. Although he has never won an NBA title, he has won two NBA Coach of the Year awards and is fresh off a 217-102 record with Houston.

In his four years with that organization, his .682 winning percentage stands as the highest in the Western Conference over that span.

Most importantly, D’Antoni’s success is not just limited to the regular season. Over the last four years, he has recorded 28 playoff victories – only the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and Toronto Raptors amassed more.

Fit will be a concern, obviously. Philly’s roster is not ideally constructed for D’Antoni’s preferred style of play. That said, the thinking is that Brand will work to rectify that. The roster in place now will likely not be the one that D’Antoni would have to deal with long-term.

Beyond just his coaching acumen, D’Antoni also comes with certain other positives.

One big one? His relationship with Rockets star James Harden.

John Clark of NBC Philly alluded to that this past week.

“I’m hearing one of the reasons along with coaching that Sixers have a lot of interest in Mike D’Antoni is feeling with some in organization that he could help lure James Harden to Philly,” he wrote.

“Harden can become a free agent in 2 years and there is possibility of trade.”

Will D’Antoni truly be able to deliver Harden? It’s hard to say – but the prospect is certainly appealing.

One way or another, at this point it looks like D’Antoni’s eventual hiring is an inevitability. How that will ultimately work out for all sides remains to be seen.

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