76ers HC Search Could be Down to Ty Lue and Mike D'Antoni
After spending months searching for Jim Boylen's replacement, the Chicago Bulls have found their next head coach. While rumors indicated that Wes Unseld, Ime Udoka, and Kenny Atkinson were the favorites -- the Bulls went in a completely different direction and hired a Philadelphia 76ers target in Billy Donovan.
Donovan, the former head coach of the Thunder, became available just a couple of weeks ago after wrapping up his fifth season in Oklahoma City. Considering the Thunder are looking to rebuild after the Russell Westbrook era, it was time for Donovan to move on as a rebuild typically includes a new head coach.
The Sixers reportedly considered Donovan a favorite for their fresh start, but the Bulls swooped him up on Tuesday night. Now, Philly is left with one less candidate. When the job became available initially, a handful of available coaches were linked to the 76ers.
Names like Dave Joerger, Mike Brown, Jay Wright, Ime Udoka, and Ty Lue were rumored to be on Philly's radar. Once the Thunder and the Rockets moved on from their head coaches, Donovan and Mike D'Antoni garnered interest from the Sixers as well. As of late, Joerger and Brown generated little to no buzz since they've initially been linked to the 76ers.
And Villanova's Jay Wright pulled himself out of the running after announcing via Twitter he was staying in the NCAA. While Udoka remains on the Sixers' staff, for the time being, it sounds like a promotion in Philly won't come anytime soon as Donovan, D'Antoni, and Lue were rumored to be moving on to the "next round of interviews" and "strongly vying for the position."
Now that Donovan's out of the running officially, that leaves the competition down to two candidates, barring any surprise changes. Considering Ty Lue is reportedly a "serious candidate" for the Rockets, the Sixers could either be stuck in a bidding war for the Clippers assistant -- or bringing D'Antoni back to Philly where he spent the 2015-2016 season as an associate head coach next to Brett Brown.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_