The Sixers’ search is over as the organization is set to name Nick Nurse as the new head coach in Philadelphia, a source confirms to Liberty Ballers.
The move was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
ESPN Sources: Nick Nurse has reached an agreement to become the next coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Nurse — who won an NBA championship and a coach of year award with Toronto — now gets to coach the 2023 MVP Joel Embiid. pic.twitter.com/SrsXhzx7Y3— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2023
The 55-year-old was at the helm for the Toronto Raptors from 2018-2023 after serving as an assistant coach for five years. In his time as boss, the Raptors made three playoff appearances and won two Atlantic Division titles, an Eastern Conference title and the team’s only NBA Championship. That 2018-19 championship run, Sixers fans surely remember, saw the Raptors eliminate Philadelphia in heartbreaking fashion in Game 7 of the 2018-19 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Over the past few seasons, however, the tides have turned for Toronto and Nurse. The 2020 NBA Coach of the Year was fired just weeks after Toronto failed to make the playoffs after a 41-41 campaign this season. They also missed the playoffs in 2021. Last season, the Raptors clinched the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, but fell in the first round in six games to Sixers.
Nurse immediately jumped out as a prominent candidate for a number of head coaching vacancies this offseason, including the Milwaukee Bucks, the Phoenix Suns, and, of course, the Sixers.
Then, in late May, it was reported that Nurse removed himself from contention for the Bucks’ opening and “that reuniting with [Daryl] Morey is very much enticing to Nurse.” Dating back to his time in the G League (then the D-League), Nurse has history with Sixers’ president Daryl Morey. Morey was the general manager of the Houston Rockets when Nurse was the coach of their G League team, the Rio Grand Valley Vipers. Nurse led the Vipers to two D-League championship titles in his three years as their coach.
He will fill a void left in the Sixers’ organization left by former head coach Doc Rivers, who was relieved of his duties with the Sixers after failing to make it out of the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the third consecutive year.