In the end, 76ers general manager Ed Stefanski said, his choice of Eddie Jordan as the team's new coach boiled down to philosophy.
Jordan, 54, was introduced yesterday in the Hall of Fame Room at the Wachovia Center, making official a three-year, $8.1 million deal.
Jordan, who is back in the business after a 1-10 start this season that resulted in his firing by the Washington Wizards, is a leading proponent of the pass-and-cut game that is the Princeton offense.
Stefanski and Jordan had worked together with the New Jersey Nets at the beginning of this decade. Stefanski was senior vice president of basketball operations and Jordan was an assistant coach when New Jersey reached the Finals in 2002 and 2003.
After the 2003-04 season, Stefanski became the Nets' general manager, and Jordan was hired by Washington, where he was head coach for five-plus seasons.
The success they enjoyed in New Jersey, and their familiarity, certainly didn't hurt Jordan's chances of landing the job with the Sixers.
"Eddie Jordan and I are friends," Stefanski said. "In the six years he was in Washington - close your eyes - that's how many times I did anything personal with Eddie Jordan. . . . But there was no 'Eddie Jordan is going to be the coach and nobody else.' . . . But when it came down to X's and O's, Eddie's system fit us perfectly with the talent and personnel we have in this organization. . . . Right now, his offense is perfect for the 76ers."
Stefanski's search for a new coach to replace Tony DiLeo, who withdrew from consideration early in the process, began with Jordan.
Then, there were five other candidates who were granted interviews by the Sixers. Each had his chance to lay out his vision for the team.
"We got all of their ideas, and how they would implement it," said Stefanski, who received rave reviews on Jordan from such basketball luminaries as Jerry West and Pat Riley.
"I did close to four hours with [each candidate]. It was a process. I told Eddie when I first started, and I told all of the candidates, that this was a process I had to go through."
Stefanski said that when Jordan came in for a second interview, he sealed the deal.
"We came away like, 'Wow, this is the guy for us,' " Stefanski said.