The 76ers will bring in a short list of candidates for a second round of interviews for their vacant head-coaching position, a league source confirmed.
Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue, former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, and former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan are expected to meet with the team in the next 10 days.
Multiple league sources have said the job is D’Antoni’s to lose, saying he’s the candidate the ownership group wants. The Sixers denied that there’s a leading candidate in their coaching search and stressed that general manager Elton Brand will make the coaching hire.
D’Antoni, 69, is familiar with the Sixers organization after serving five months as the team’s associate head coach during the 2015-16 season. The Rockets hired him on June 1, 2016. The Sixers players loved him, and some were sad when he left to accept the Rockets' coaching position. He previously served as the head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and Denver Nuggets.
Donovan, 55, is also among the leading candidates for the Chicago Bulls' job. Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, and Denver Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. are also candidates.
This season, Donovan was named co-coach of the year, along with the Milwaukee Bucks' Mike Budenholzer, by the National Basketball Coaches Association. He was in the last season of the five-year deal he signed with the Thunder after a successful stint at the University of Florida, where Donovan coached Al Horford and won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007.
Lue, 43, is the only coach with an NBA championship pedigree. As a player with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was part of title teams in 2000 and 2001, and he served as Cleveland’s head coach when the Cavaliers won their only NBA title in 2016. Lue also took the Cavaliers to the Finals the next two years.
The Sixers fired former coach Brett Brown on Aug. 23, one day after the team was swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.