The NBA head coaching market has largely dried up. Stan Van Gundy is the latest notable hire after agreeing to become the new head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, and he may be taking a member of the Philadelphia 76ers with him.
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype has reported that Sixers assistant coach Ime Udoka is a candidate under consideration to join Van Gundy’s coaching staff with the Pelicans. Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Charles Lee is also a possibility.
Udoka gained seven years of excellent coaching experience as an assistant under Gregg Popovich for the San Antonio Spurs from 2012-2019, and joined the Sixers as one of Brett Brown’s assistants last season. While Brown obviously stood by certain schematic choices (such as the use of drop coverage), Udoka oversaw the team’s defense.
While many head coaching opportunities have passed Udoka by (at one point he was considered a frontrunner for the Chicago Bulls job, before they chose to hire Billy Donovan), it still seems likely that he’ll leave Philly for another coaching role, even if he’s still an assistant. He’s well regarded around the NBA and has plenty of good experience under his belt, and he’s deservedly caught the attention of other teams this offseason.
Plus, Doc Rivers has already started assembling his new staff with the Sixers. Former Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger has agreed to join the Sixers, while Bulls assistant coach Roy Rogers has just emerged as another candidate that Doc is interested in adding.