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Sixers to hire Ime Udoka as lead assistant coach

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Come East, all ye former Spurs coaches

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers had two key coaching vacancies to fill this offseason in the wake of two of their assistants leaving for head coaching positions in Monty Williams (Phoenix) and Billy Lange (Saint Joseph’s). Now, we know who will be filling one of those roles: former Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka.

Shortly thereafter, The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported that the 41-year-old Udoka would be assuming Williams’ former position as lead assistant.

Williams had been the “special teams” coach for the Sixers (ATO’s and out-of-bounds plays), although Udoka may not necessarily assume those same responsibilities. Udoka played seven years in the NBA (including three seasons with the Spurs) before joining San Antonio as an assistant in 2012. He spent the past seven years on the Spurs staff, while also coaching San Antonio’s Summer League team in 2013 and 2014.

Udoka had recently been interviewed for Cleveland’s head coaching position, before the Cavaliers opted to hire long-time Michigan head coach John Beilein.

With the Gregg Popovich coaching tree continuing to proliferate across the NBA, it wouldn’t surprise me if Udoka’s stay in Philadelphia is relatively short before landing a head coaching job of his own. Hopefully, Udoka can help coach the Sixers to a title before getting another title change.

Update: According to Rich Hofmann of The Athletic, Udoka will serve as the Sixers’ defensive coordinator in addition to being Brett Brown’s lead assistant.