REPORT: Mike D’Antoni, Billy Donovan to interview for Sixers head coaching gig
To recall, right after the Sixers got swept in the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the team fired their seven-year coach Brett Brown. Under Brown, Philly qualified for the playoffs three times, even reaching the Conference Semifinals in 2018 and 2019.
Source tells me that Mike D’Antoni & Billy Donovan should be in Camden this week to interview with the Sixers for the head coaching job.
— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) September 14, 2020
D’Antoni, for his part, had been in contract talks with the Houston Rockets since the offseason. After not coming to an agreement, both parties decided to halt conversations until the end of the 2019-20 campaign. Houston made it clear that they wanted D’Antoni back in the fold, but as it turned out, it was a one-sided affair.
In four years in Houston, D’Antoni propelled the Rockets into perennial playoff contenders. Using a rather uncanny offensive playbook, Houston became a formidable foe in the West. In 2018, they were just a win away from ousting the then-defending champions Golden State Warriors.
For what it’s worth, right after leaving the Rockets, it has been reported that D’Antoni is a candidate for the Sixers job.
Meanwhile, Donovan had done a decent job with the Thunder during his five-year stint. In his first season with the team, he guided the Thunder to the Conference Finals. However, they infamously gave up a 3-1 lead over the Warriors.
After that, Donovan had to weather the tides following Kevin Durant’s departure. In 2019-20, amid all the low expectations, the Thunder made it to the playoffs and capped off an impressive run.
The Sixers are at a critical stage after years of lack of playoff success. Their coaching hire will dictate the route they are taking as they try to salvage what was left of the famed “Process.” Mike D’Antoni and Billy Donovan are both proven coaches though, so it will certainly be interesting who the team hires.