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Eddie Jordan to coach Sixers

Eddie Jordan has accepted a three-year deal to become the next head coach of the 76ers.

Eddie Jordan has accepted a three-year deal to become the next head coach of the 76ers.

Late Friday night, general manager Ed Stefanski confirmed that he had "agreed in principle" with Jordan, while sources confirmed the length of the agreement. No financial terms were disclosed.

For the coming season, Jordan is owed $4 million by the Washington Wizards, who fired him in October.

Sources have indicated that a news conference will be held Monday.

"I saw firsthand the immense impact Eddie Jordan had in helping the Nets reach two NBA Finals, and as the head coach in Washington, he consistently put his teams in a position to win on a nightly basis," Stefanski said in a statement.

"He embodies all the qualities I was looking for in the next head coach of the Sixers, and we are very excited to have him in Philadelphia," the general manager said.

Jordan's name has been associated with the Sixers since mid-December, when Stefanski fired Maurice Cheeks and replaced him with assistant general manager Tony DiLeo.

DiLeo finished the season as head coach, going 32-27, but withdrew his name from consideration for the position almost three weeks ago.

Jordan, 54, has coached the Sacramento Kings and the Wizards. His career head coaching record is 230-288.

Jordan was fired by the Wizards a little over six months ago, after they started the season 1-10. He made four playoff appearances with Washington.

Jordan's first head coaching stint was in Sacramento, where he guided the Kings for the last 15 games of the 1996-97 season and all of the 1997-98 campaign, finishing 27-55 that year. He was fired by Sacramento before the 1998-99 season.

Because the Wizards ran an up-tempo offense during Jordan's tenure, he is known as an offensive-minded coach, but a source close to him indicated that the fast pace matched the team's personnel and that Jordan was as adept on the defensive side of the ball.

The source confirmed that Jordan would more than likely implement the Princeton offense, which relies on backdoor cuts and a motion offense. Jordan learned the offense while working in Sacramento with former Princeton coach Pete Carril.

Although it remained unclear how Jordan would fill his staff, a source confirmed that Mike O'Koren, Jordan's top assistant in Washington, would join him.

When DiLeo withdrew, speculation swirled immediately around Jordan, who had worked with Stefanski for four seasons with the New Jersey Nets. With the Nets, Jordan was an assistant coach and Stefanski an assistant general manager, and the team made back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals.

Jordan was the first candidate to receive an interview. He met with Stefanski and Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider two weeks ago.

The Sixers recently brought Jordan back for a follow-up interview. Jordan and Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey were the only two candidates offered second interviews.

A source with knowledge of the situation indicated that the comfort level between Jordan and Stefanski, because of their shared time with the Nets, played a key factor in the decision.

Whether it was a smoke screen or a legitimate process, Stefanski took his time conducting his search, interviewing six candidates and indicating he would "reach out" to at least a few more.

Along with Jordan and Casey, Stefanski interviewed Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau; Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis; an in-house candidate, Chris Ford; and Villanova coach Jay Wright. Wright immediately removed his name from consideration, and a few days later, the Sixers informed Rambis that they were going in a different direction.

Stefanski said he wanted to talk to ex-Chicago Bulls coach Doug Collins and to Jeff Van Gundy, the former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach, as "due diligence," but before confirmation of any additional interviews surfaced, the job was offered to Jordan.

Stefanski "had a first-class process," Casey said. "Coming in second is no fun, but I understand the comfort level they have from their New Jersey days. I want to wish them both the best."

Jordan was born in Washington, D.C.; played basketball at Rutgers from 1973 to '77; and played in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Nets, the Lakers, and the Portland Trail Blazers. He owns a home in Princeton, not more than an hour from the Wachovia Center.