With the 2022-23 NBA season firmly in the rearview, the Philadelphia 76ers quickly began preparations for a bounce-back campaign in 2023-24. Many questions surround the franchise moving forward from personnel decisions around Doc Rivers to free agency with James Harden and beyond.
After failing to make it out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the third consecutive year, the first domino has fallen as the team has dismissed head coach Doc Rivers Tuesday morning according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
The future Hall of Fame coach finishes his career with the Philadelphia 76ers with a record of 154-82 over three seasons. In each season, the Sixers ended with a second-round exit. First, against the Atlanta Hawks in the game that effectively ended Ben Simmons’ career in Philadelphia. Then, against the Miami Heat after Joel Embiid missed the first two games with an orbital fracture. And finally, against the Boston Celtics this past week as the team had two chances, in Game 6 and Game 7, to seal the series, yet folded both times.
It was reported by NBA insider Ramona Shelburne that Harden’s future with the Sixers could be linked to the team parting ways with Rivers. To be clear, that does not mean it was the only reason the team parted ways with Doc Rivers, but it likely helped put the notion over the edge.
With Rivers out in Philadelphia, the question on the minds of many is who will take his place? Former Houston Rockets’ head coach and former Sixers’ assistant, Mike D’Antoni, has long been linked to the Sixers as a potential replacement for Rivers, in large part due to his connection with Harden. While Harden’s potential influence on retaining Rivers may be fair, it would be unwise to make the next coaching decision purely on Harden’s wishes, as it would be a right Harden had not earned based on his performance in Philadelphia.
There are other names connected to the Sixers, according to Wojnarowski, as the search is expected to include former Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, former Raptors coach Nick Nurse, former Suns coach Monty Williams, Wildwood’s own Frank Vogel, and Sixers’ assistant coach Sam Cassell, in addition to D’Antoni.
Just two days removed from the team’s embarrassing finish and major moves are already being made. Many more are likely on the horizon. Stay tuned.