Now at least we know that Eddie Jordan isn't the only candidate for the 76ers' vacant coaching job.

Add Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey and Boston Celtics associate head coach Tom Thibodeau to the mix.

A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed that the Sixers received permission from the Mavericks to contact Casey and have done so. The Boston Herald reported yesterday that the Sixers have asked for and received permission to talk to Thibodeau now that the Celtics have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Casey, 52, just completed his first season as a member of the Mavs' staff. Neither Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson nor Casey could be reached for comment.

It remains unknown when Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski might choose to meet with Casey or Thibodeau. Stefanski, who has adopted a code of silence during his search for a replacement for Tony DiLeo, met last Friday with Jordan, a former head coach with the Sacramento Kings and the Washington Wizards.

Casey served as the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from June 17, 2005, to Jan. 25, 2007, as a replacement for Kevin McHale; he finished with a record of 43-59. He coached for five seasons in Japan before beginning his NBA coaching career in 1994-95, joining the staff of the Seattle SuperSonics, staying 11 seasons.

Thibodeau is known as a defensive coach and has spent 19 seasons in the NBA, although he has never been a head coach. Among his stops was one with the Sixers for two seasons under John Lucas. He also has worked for Houston, Seattle, San Antonio, Minnesota and the Knicks.

The Sixers' job became available when DiLeo, the in-season replacement for the fired Maurice Cheeks, withdrew from consideration to continue in the position. DiLeo has resumed his duties as senior vice president/assistant GM. *

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