Before the Philadelphia 76ers replaced their former head coach Brett Brown with Doc Rivers, the team was torn between two candidates in Los Angeles Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni.
The Sixers were very close to landing D'Antoni when they looked for their next head coach, but they pivoted once Doc Rivers joined the open market. The Sixers offered Rivers the job in no time, and he accepted.
Rivers would join a new front-office regime in Philadelphia, too, as the Sixers hired former Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey as their President of Basketball Operations.
While Morey was getting a fresh start in Philadelphia, he still wanted his superstar James Harden around. Therefore, Morey attempted to trade for Harden to get him out of Houston and into Philly.
But Morey's first attempt was unsuccessful. Instead, the Sixers lost out to the Brooklyn Nets. However, since Brooklyn couldn't keep Harden happy, they were forced to trade him as well. And over a year later, Morey and Harden have reunited again in Philadelphia.
Now, there are some NBA conspiracy theorists out there that believe Morey will eventually reunite the trio of Harden, D'Antoni, and himself by replacing Doc Rivers at some point, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.
"The conspiracy theory already making the rounds in league coaching circles holds that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey will eventually want Mike D’Antoni to take over in the hot seat for Philadelphia’s new Joel Embiid/James Harden tag team after D’Antoni’s offensive creativity helped catapult Harden to three scoring titles in Houston."
While you can certainly never say never in the NBA, especially when it comes to Daryl Morey since he landed Harden after many said it wasn't possible last month, it seems unlikely the Sixers have any plans to move away from Doc Rivers.
Sure, his team's collapse in the second round of the playoffs last season was another playoff failure to add to his resume, but all of that blame can't be put solely on Rivers.
Unless Rivers can't figure out how to unleash an elite pairing in Joel Embiid and James Harden, it's difficult to imagine that Rivers is truly on the hot seat.
After all, he did help the Sixers notch the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season and still has the Sixers 2.5 games away from the first seed this year despite missing a second All-Star all season long.
Not to mention, both Morey and Harden had an interest in having Rivers replacing D'Antoni in Houston before they both left the Rockets. Both the star player and the President of Basketball Ops were fans of Rivers' in the past. It seems like a stretch to believe that's changed already.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.