Rumblings of D'Antoni as next 76ers coach begin to intensify

Sam Amico

Rumors of Mike D'Antoni-to-the-Philadelphia 76ers seem to be intensifying, as general manager Elton Brand ramps up his search, according to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.

For the 76ers, D'Antoni and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue appear to be the two biggest names to watch, with Brand already starting talks with some of the candidates, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

D'Antoni stepped down as coach of the Houston Rockets earlier this month after four seasons. He is said to also be a strong candidate for the Indiana Pacers' vacancy, and both he and Lue could warrant strong consideration from the New Orleans Pelicans. (Both have worked with Pelicans chief of basketball operations David Griffin.)

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Meanwhile, with younger All-Stars such as center Joel Embiid and guard/forward Ben Simmons, the 76ers job may be the most coveted of those available.

But O'Connor questioned the fit of D'Antoni, whose teams generally shoot fast, shoot far and have a reputation for being so-so defensively.

"I'm just intrigued since his preferred style isn't a fit for Philly's roster," O'Connor wrote. "It'd be weird. Would hiring him be a precursor to changes to modernize the team?"

O'Connor added that D'Antoni does "love" Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul, formerly of the Rockets. Paul has again been the subject of trade rumors -- including some that involve the 76ers -- since guiding OKC to an inspiring run to the playoffs.

Along with the Rockets, D'Antoni has coached the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks. He was also an assistant under former 76ers coach Brett Brown during the 2015-16 season.

Overall, D'Antoni has compiled a 718-555 record during the regular season, but is just 54-56 in the playoffs.

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