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Sixers can apparently thank Giannis for Nick Nurse winding up in Philly

Marc Stein shared a revealing tidbit about why Nick Nurse ended up with the Sixers instead of the Bucks this past offseason.

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Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Nick Nurse faced a choice this past offseason after he and the Toronto Raptors parted ways.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers both fired their head coaches after disappointing playoff exits. Nurse had plenty of experience facing both teams in the playoffs in recent years, and each offered a megastar in his prime to build around.

Nurse wound up signing with the Sixers, and everything is hunky dory for the time being. They’re third in the East at 29-13 and sport top-five marks in offensive rating, defensive rating and net rating. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid is fresh off a franchise-record 70-point destruction of Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

The vibes in Milwaukee are… not as chill. The Bucks fired first-year head coach Adrian Griffin on Tuesday even though they’re second in the East at 30-13. According to Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Eric Nehm of The Athletic, players had begun “to question Griffin’s schemes on both sides of the floor and the strategy that was being laid out for them each night.”

So, why did Philly and Milwaukee go with Nurse and Griffin, respectively? As it turns out, the Sixers may have Giannis Antetokounmpo to thank for that, longtime NBA insider Marc Stein reported Tuesday.

Griffin was the candidate who most intrigued Antetokounmpo before quickly emerging as the favorite to get the job in spite of his lack of previous NBA head coaching experience … all largely because he had Antetokounmpo’s backing.

The question then was: Why?

And: How?

Why was Antetokounmpo throwing his support behind Griffin?

How did Griffin gain that sort of endorsement from a superstar of Giannis’ stature when they had never worked together before?

League sources say now that the desire to play for Griffin is better described as a determination to play for someone other than Nick Nurse.

After firing Griffin, the Bucks now appear likely to hire Doc Rivers as their next head coach.

You can’t make this s—t up.

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