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#pounditSaturday, July 2, 2022

Sixers could replace Doc Rivers with another notable coach?

Doc Rivers

The Philadelphia 76ers are undergoing some big changes right now, and the next change could hit their team doctor … Doctor Rivers, that is.

Veteran basketball writer Marc Stein said this week in a post to his Substack that there is a theory making the rounds in NBA coaching circles that 76ers general manager Daryl Morey may want to replace head coach Doc Rivers with another notable veteran coach — Mike D’Antoni.

Philadelphia just traded for James Harden, who was previously with Morey on the Houston Rockets. D’Antoni was the head coach of the Rockets during that era as well, and hiring him would reunite the trio that led Houston to 65 wins in Harden’s MVP 2017-18 campaign.

Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice did later address Stein’s report, saying that the D’Antoni rumor was instantly shot down by Sixers team sources. Neubeck also noted the job Rivers has done for the 76ers this season under strange circumstances and the leap that Joel Embiid has made under Rivers.

Granted, it still might make sense to swap Rivers out for D’Antoni, especially if the Sixers falter with Harden on the roster. The ten-time All-Star guard is a notoriously enigmatic player to coach, but D’Antoni has proven that he can get the most of Harden with his high-octane offensive system. D’Antoni also made the conference finals in his third-most recent season as a head coach, something that Rivers has not done since back in 2012.

Rivers is under contract for three more seasons after this one. But with some other recent indications that D’Antoni has still got the coaching bug, getting the gang back together in its entirety might be something that Morey takes a long, hard look at.

Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

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