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NBA insider links Mike D’Antoni to Philadelphia 76ers coaching vacancy

Just days after getting eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the third season in a row, the Philadelphia 76ers relieved Doc Rivers of his coaching duties. Now the search for Joel Embiid’s next head coach begins, and Mike D’Antoni is already being mentioned as a potential candidate.

Shortly after the news of Rivers’ departure went mainstream, Adrian Wojnarowski linked D’Antoni to the vacancy, but he’s not the only one. Now NBA insider Michael Scotto has also heard similar reports, suggesting there have long been rumors of D’Antoni joining the 76ers as long as James Harden remains in town.

D’Antoni hasn’t gotten another head coaching opportunity since being let go by the Houston Rockets in 2020, but it was there that he and Harden reached the Western Conference Finals after winning 65 games during the regular season.

Neither Harden nor D’Antoni have experienced similar success since. It’s not a wild concept to think the two have envisioned teaming up again, away from Houston. Not to mention Daryl Morey, the 76ers’ president of basketball operations, is the one who hired coach D’Antoni in Houston. Yet, after the two sides couldn’t reach an extension, D’Antoni and the Rockets mutually agreed to part ways, but it’s not like Morey ever fired him.

D’Antoni has spent the past two seasons as a coaching advisor with the New Orleans Pelicans and was in Brooklyn as an assistant in 2021 with Harden on the Nets.

While he may not have been the first candidate to come to mind, D’Antoni could emerge as a finalist in Philadelphia. Yet, the 76ers, after getting through their interview process, may uncover a candidate they feel is more equipped to help Embiid get his first NBA championship ring now that the MVP trophy is no longer on his checklist.

Related: Top NBA head coach candidates for 2023, including Monty Williams and Becky Hammon

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