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Report: ‘reuniting with Morey is very much enticing to [Nick] Nurse.’

An earlier report offered that Nick Nurse pulled out of the running for the Bucks head coaching vacancy, and soon after we’re hearing a reunion with Morey is very much enticing to the 2019 champion.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

With Philadelphia on the hunt for its next head coach to replace the recently fired Doc Rivers, we’re paying close attention to the NBA’s annual coaching carousel. One name that has continued popping up in rumors to perhaps fill the Sixers’ vacancy is former Raptors coach Nick Nurse.

The Sixers interviewed the 2019 championship-winning coach before they next met with former Lakers coach Frank Vogel. Both men have won rings with their respective clubs, before being ousted by management. We recently learned some clues about why Toronto President Masai Ujiri may have wanted a new voice by asking Raptors HQ.

Mike Budenholzer, another championship-winning coach, finds himself in the exact same boat. It doesn’t appear the Sixers have met with him yet, although Coach Bud would appear to stand out as one of the best candidates (and fits) available.

Earlier on Saturday, it was reported that Nurse pulled out of the running for the Milwaukee Bucks gig, before The Deer began finalizing a deal with Nurse’s assistant Adrian Griffin.

Now a new article from Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey adds more detail on this developing situation.

Per Pompey, Saturday afternoon:

“Nurse interviewed with the Sixers [last] Monday before meeting with the Suns on Thursday. The 55-year-old coach is pondering the best destination for him, according to sources. However, a source would not say if the Sixers offered him the gig. Sources said earlier this week that the Sixers will have a better idea what direction their search to replace Doc Rivers is headed in by week’s end....

It’s no secret that Nurse has a great relationship with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey....Sources have said that reuniting with Morey is very much enticing to Nurse. Rivers is among the finalist for the Suns job, having interviewed on Friday.”

So we’ve reached weeks end, and I gotta say, it feels like the odds of the team landing Nurse have increased significantly over the last seven days or so.

His removing himself from Milwaukee’s opening, combined with this report that he’d find it “very much enticing” to work with Morey again (the Sixers’ Prez hired Nurse back in 2011 to coach the Rockets’ D League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers,) makes for some intriguing tea leaf-reading material.

Both Morey and Nurse have referred to those D League teams as a great “laboratory” for experimenting with ideas and learning about the NBA Game. Some high-quality players came out of that team for Houston. Pompey’s piece notes that 23 players moved up from the Viper’s to the NBA under Nurse’s former development system. (His book points out that he’s a shooting coach at heart, and lord knows the Sixers can use some of that).

With the Miami Heat currently proving the value of undrafted hidden gems, maybe this stuff carries more weight than usual.

As our Paul Hudrick recently reminded us, despite *gestures broadly at everything* this Sixers head coaching job is still attractive. As Morey himself reminded fans at his exit presser, there are roughly 26 teams who’d like to have the star power Philadelphia has.

It’s starting to sound like Nick Nurse agrees.

But of course, the question of one James Harden’s future looms largest.

Might Harden prefer the team hire his former coach from his three scoring titles and MVP days, in Mike D’Antoni, another reported Philadelphia candidate? If Harden did not get his top choice, might that impact his free-agent decision, even a little bit? If Morey ultimately preferred Nurse, but would be comfortable with MDA, would he lean towards the latter in order to help potential summer negotiations with Harden?

Could Morey and Elton Brand feel the difference between MDA and Nurse, for example, isn’t as important as doing all they can to keep James around, at least for the right price? Or is that #badprocess? Could bad processes still bring them to the best outcome?

While ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suspects that Harden to Houston rumors may be a mere leverage play by The Beard, that hypothesis doesn’t appear to ring true to NBA executives who predict Harden will in fact rejoin his former squad.

So we’ll continue to monitor things here. But if you were setting odds, with Nurse potentially choosing between Phoenix and Philadelphia, and Doc Rivers now a final candidate for that Suns job, you just might begin to think Nurse might have the inside track here.

For now, it all seems fluid. It doesn’t sound as if the Sixers are in any rush here. But if they want Nurse, maybe they should be in more of one, who knows?

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