76ers hire Mike D'Antoni as associate head coach
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The one-win Philadelphia 76ers hired veteran NBA coach Mike D'Antoni as associate head coach Friday.
D'Antoni's deal follows the team's recent addition of Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations and a decision to extend head coach Brett Brown's contract two years.
The 76ers took an NBA-worst 1-26 record into their home game Friday night against New York.
D'Antoni is expected to be on the bench at some point during the Sixers' trip to the West Coast from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2.
D'Antoni was the head coach of the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. He has ties to Colangelo from their time in Phoenix, where Colangelo was the Suns' owner.
The 64-year-old D'Antoni has been out of the NBA since stepping down from the Lakers after the 2013-14 season.
''When Jerry Colangelo came into our program, the first thing he said to me was, `How can I help you?''' Brown said. ''And we talked about everything, the staff included. And we started sharing names. He mentioned the name Mike D'Antoni and I said, `Do you think he would do it?'''
''Less than 24 hours later, he said, `Mike is yours,''' Brown said.
Brown said he placed a lot of calls to D'Antoni over the last few days, joking that he usually heard ''the crack of a 3-iron'' in the background. Brown said D'Antoni was bored and eager to get back in the game.
Brown said he was eager to work alongside D'Antoni, who posted a 253-136 record with the Suns from 2003-08 while featuring a dynamic offense.
''Let's face it, he's one of the most innovative offensive minds that we've had in recent times,'' Brown said. ''He'll come in and help me with the offense.''
Brown said D'Antoni had been in Philadelphia earlier in the week but returned home to ''get his life in order.''
D'Antoni owns an all-time 455-426 record as an NBA head coach. He also has nearly a decade of international head coaching experience, helping guide Team USA to gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics as an assistant on Mike Krzyzewski's staff.
''Although it happened quickly and his availability caught me off guard, this is a good thing,'' Brown said.