What to make of the latest buzz around Mike D'Antoni and Sixers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The NBA head coaching landscape is starting to take shape. The Athletic’s Shams Charania is reporting the Bulls have inked Billy Donovan to a four year $24 million contract.
What does that mean for the Sixers now that one of their reported top three candidates is officially off the board?
Apparently more Mike D’Antoni chatter, if you’re keeping up. NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark tweeted this morsel earlier today.
I’m hearing one of the reasons along with coaching that Sixers have a lot of interest in Mike D’Antoni is feeling with some in organization that he could help lure James Harden to Philly— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 24, 2020
Harden can become a free agent in 2 years and there is possibility of trade pic.twitter.com/gJVecCuhHN
Yahoo NBA writer Keith Smith shared some of his own scuttlebutt concerning D'Antoni earlier in the week.
Starting to hear a lot of buzz that the Philadelphia 76ers are are letting teams know they are open to trade talks if they hire Mike D'Antoni to be their next head coach. Philadelphia realizes that current roster, with all the bigs, isn't built to be a successful D'Antoni team.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 23, 2020
When you put it all together, either the Sixers still really like their former assistant from the 10-win Sixers team from the 2015-16 season or they’re doing a heck of a job trying to drive down Tyronn Lue’s reported $7 million per season asking price.
If we take it bit by bit, it was always a little odd to me that two of the reported top three coaching candidates for the Sixers’ vacancy were freshly on the market after coaching other teams.
Of all the Udoka’s, Unseld Jr’s and Hammon’s vying for head coaching jobs, the shortened offseason has pushed the Sixers toward retreads. Not surprising considering the short window of time the franchise has to work with and the plethora of issues to address. Going with a known quantity makes a lot of sense, but who would be at the top of the Sixers’ search if coaches who are not as highly regarded as Donovan and MDA were let go?
Then there’s the real elephant in the room of how D’Antoni enacts his offensive-laden system which, considering the Sixers’ small offseason free agency budget, can only successfully be done via trade. Does he need a roster full of three-point shooters to make his system work? Does that mean Ben Simmons might be on the trading block considering he is reluctant to shoot from the outside? Does D’Antoni’s system devalue the center position, meaning Embiid is expendable?
There are more questions than answers, unfortunately, although Elton Brand, who is leading the search for a new coach, strongly voiced in his presser following Brett Brown’s ouster that he was not looking to trade Simmons or Embiid, but rather “complement them.”
I think it’s also rather laughable to think that a 71-year-old D’Antoni will have any leverage in luring a 33-year-old James Harden away from Houston to Philly in two years. Harden has a $47 million player option in 2022-23.