Apparently, Nurse couldn't refuse the opportunity to coach the reigning MVP in Joel Embiid, despite the fact that he has some sort of not-so-positive history with the big man. His connection with Daryl Morey also played a role in the decision.
To recall, before Nurse became an assistant and eventually the head coach for the Toronto Raptors, he coached the Rio Grande Valley Vipers from 2011 to 2013. The Vipers are the G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, which at the time had Morey as their general manager.
“Nurse's desire to coach MVP Joel Embiid and his history with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey played a significant part in his decision to commit to a deal with Philadelphia, sources said. Nurse separated himself in the interview process, selling a vision for the Sixers centered on Embiid,” Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wrote on Nurse's move to accept the Sixers job.
As mentioned, Nick Nurse also received interest from the Bucks and the Suns, who fired Mike Budenholzer and Monty Williams, respectively, after their 2023 playoff disappointments. Nurse took himself out of the Milwaukee coaching race, and while Phoenix engaged with him and his agent, the 55-year-old tactician ended up choosing Philly.
All eyes will be on Nurse now as he looks to get the Sixers over the hump in the postseason. It will also be interesting to see the “vision” for Embiid that he sold to the team to get the coaching gig.