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News » Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2009-05-29

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2009-05-29

Philadelphia 76ers Getting Inside 2009-05-29
Ed Stefanski started the interview process with a former head coach before moving on to two longtime assistants. He's also planning to interview at least one other assistant.

Stefanski and the Sixers aren't commenting on the coaching search. In a conference call May 11 to announce that Tony DiLeo had stepped down as coach, Stefanski said he realizes how important this decision is.

"The coach is going to be the leader of these guys," Stefanski said. "We will get it right. We'll do our due diligence and get the best candidate to lead the Sixers where everyone wants us to be led."

First up was Eddie Jordan, who coached the Kings and Wizards to a 230-288 record in 6 1/2 years before he was fired by Washington after a 1-10 start in 2007-08. Jordan was the assistant head coach and Stefanski the assistant GM on the Nets' 2001-02 and 2002-03 teams that went to the NBA Finals.

Stefanski followed that interview by meeting with Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey. Both had brief stretches as head coaches -- Rambis compiled a 24-13 record to close out the Lakers' lockout-shortened 1999 season, and Casey went 53-69 in 1 1/2 seasons with the Timberwolves.

The other coach the Sixers have confirmed will interview is Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau. Known for his work at the defensive end, Thibodeau, a 19-year assistant, was a Sixers assistant on John Lucas' staff from 1994-96.

In the conference call, Stefanski gave an idea what he's looking for in what will be the Sixers' sixth coach in a little more than six years.

"Communication is huge in any walk of life, especially when you're coaching NBA players," Stefanski said. "So a communicator is one (thing) that will be high on my list. Also, a guy who is a leader and will hold the players accountable, which I think is real important. And I also want a coach who can develop players. I know when you bring in young kids and you bring in draft picks you need people who can develop them. Obviously, the X-and-O part of it is going to be part of it, too. I think it has to be a percentage of all of that."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: Andre Iguodala's buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Sixers a 94-93 victory over the Lakers at the Staples Center on March 17. It capped a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback against the best team in the Western Conference and gave the Sixers a four-game win streak, not to mention plenty of confidence that they could play with elite teams, both home and away.

TURNING POINT: Signing Elton Brand to a five-year, $82 million free agent contract July 9. That gave the Sixers four players (Brand, Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert and Andre Miller) earning at least $10 million this season and served to hamstring the Sixers financially for years to come. Unless Brand plays at a much higher level than he did in an injury-plagued 29-game first season in Philly, this could turn out to be a really bad move.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 29, 2009


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