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New Philadelphia 76ers chairman Jerry Colangelo is beginning to impose his influence on the franchise, engaging Mike D'Antoni in talks to join Brett Brown's staff as associate head coach, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
D'Antoni, a four-time head coach in the NBA, has been discussing with Colangelo and Brown a role on the Sixers' bench that could begin later this month, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
D'Antoni, 64, and Colangelo have a longstanding relationship that includes successful runs together with the Phoenix Suns and USA Basketball. D'Antoni has been the revolutionary offensive mind of the modern NBA era, clearing the path for faster, smaller offenses that thrive on the 3-point shot.
The timing of Brown's two-year extension on Friday, a deal that extends through the end of the 2018-19 season, has apparently eased any concerns that D'Antoni would be brought to the Sixers as some kind of head coach in waiting. D'Antoni wants to be a head coach again, and his candidacy elsewhere could be enhanced if he's back on a bench in a coaching capacity.
With the offseason departure of top assistant coach Chad Iske to the Sacramento Kings, there was concern Brown needed to add more experience to his staff, league sources said.
The Sixers are engaged in a tanking strategy that has largely gutted the roster of NBA talent, leaving them losers of 23 of 24 games to start the season. Philadelphia ownership hired Colangelo to preside over president and general manager Sam Hinkie, although Colangelo won't be dealing in the day-to-day operations of the front office. Despite the demotion, Hinkie is trying to stay on the job.
After the Los Angeles Lakers let go of D'Antoni at the end of the 2013-14 season, he's spent most of his time living in West Virginia. D'Antoni reached the Western Conference finals twice in his five seasons as the Suns coach (2003-08) and reached the playoffs twice again – once each with the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers.
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