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Next Sixers Coach Odds: Nurse on Call to Replace Doc?

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

Mark Strotman  | 6 mins

Next Sixers Coach Odds: Nurse on Call to Replace Doc?

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Another Doc Rivers experiment ends in failed expectations and an unceremonious exit, this time with the Sixers relieving Rivers of his duties after a collapse against the Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. 

It creates yet another job opening of a contender (Milwaukee and Phoenix are also looking for new head coaches) complete with the league’s reigning MVP in Joel Embiid, a rising star in Tyrese Maxey, and potentially James Harden, who can opt out of his deal (and is expected to do so) this summer.

With that in mind, Bookies.com oddsmaker Adam Thompson has used his resources of NBA contacts developed over 20 years covering the league to create his hypothetical NBA futures odds on who takes over the Sixers for the 2023-24 season. 

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RELATED: Next Milwaukee Bucks Coach Odds: Who Replaces Budenholzer?

Sixers Coach Odds for 2023-24 Season

CoachOddsImplied Probability
Nick Nurse+45018.2%
Monty Williams+50016.67%
Mike D'Antoni+55015.4%
Mike Budenholzer+60014.3%
Kevin Young+75011.8%
Sam Cassell+85010.5%
Tyronn Lue+10009.1%
Frank Vogel+12007.7%
Steve Nash+14006.7%
Charles Lee+15006.3%
The Field+10009.1%

These odds have been created by the Bookies.com team for entertainment purposes only and are not representative of odds that may be available on legal betting apps.

Rivers was a championship coach, having won with the Celtics in 2008. So, while it’s true Philadelphia has tried a title-winning coach, Rivers hasn’t reached the mountaintop in 15 seasons. 

It would be wise for the Sixers, who were the co-favorites to win it all on NBA betting sites (tied with the Lakers) as recently as May 10, to hire someone with recent success. They’re in luck given the crop of elite coaches who were also kicked to the curb in the last few weeks.

Sixers Head Coaching Candidates

It's safe to assume Harden had a voice in the decision to let Rivers go, and it also makes sense that he (and Embiid) will have a say in who replaces him. The Sixers go from a solid team in the East without Harden to the same contender they were this season with him. If Harden returns, the Sixers will have every core player from last year’s 54-win campaign.

RELATED: James Harden Next Team Odds: A Return To Houston In The Cards?

Where Rivers was an elite locker room head coach and someone who was able to corral flammable personalities (Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Ben Simmons to name the loudest ones), there were some concerns over his X’s and O’s execution, which was on full display in the Sixers Game 6 collapse at home and choke-job in Game 7 to Boston.

Looking for execution? Look no further than Nick Nurse, who is widely regarded as one of the smartest head coaches in the league. His championship run in Toronto in 2019 was a pure chess match against Steve Kerr.

All Monty Williams did in three seasons with the Suns was win 160 regular-season games and go to the NBA Finals in 2020. He has some history with James Harden as an assistant coach with Team USA during the 2014 FIBA World Cup—Harden was the team’s leading scorer (14.2 points) during their Gold medal run.

Along the lines of the Williams lineage, Kevin Young is Phoenix’s current associate head coach and has already drawn interest from Phoenix and Milwaukee for its head coach opening. If Philly wanted to go a different route from Rivers, a first-time head coach makes sense. Along those same lines, Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee could also be a consideration here.

If the Sixers stay in-house to keep Harden and Maxey happy, Sam Cassell will be at the top of the list. He’s been great with guards in the past and has long been considered a future head coach in the league. It’s unknown whether Sixers President Daryl Morey will want to start fresh or keep some of the core intact.

Embiid and Harden aren’t exactly the easiest superstars to keep emotions in check, but Ty Lue has done that as well as any current head coach. After coaching LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, and then Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook in Los Angeles, the locker room would be smooth sailing with him onboard.

Frank Vogel has been out of coaching since being fired by the Lakers in 2021. But he’s a title-winning coach who got the most out of Anthony Davis in the Bubble and, a bit farther back, Roy Hibbert in Indiana. He’s well-respected around the league and is reportedly in consideration.

The James Harden Whisperer is Mike D’Antoni, who coached The Beard to an MVP season in 2018. The pair had mounds of regular-season success but constantly ran into problems (namely the Warriors) in the postseason. D’Antoni last coached as an assistant in Brooklyn (with Harden there) in 2021, and there’s a mutual respect between him, Harden, and Morey.

Steve Nash spent two-plus seasons in Brooklyn before being fired from the circus show that became the 2022-23 season. It’s hard to judge Nash too harshly based on the headache that was Durant-Irving-Harden, but he’s one of the great basketball minds in the league and could garner interest.

Mike Budenholzer was the scapegoat for the Bucks' first-round exit last month, but he's just two seasons removed from an NBA championship in Milwaukee and managed to keep the minutes of his core (Giannis, Holiday, Middleton) down, something that should interest Morey as he looks to preserve Embiid and Harden for long postseason runs.

It’d be shocking to see the Sixers go wild with their head coach selection given how close to contention they are, but the field could include the WNBA’s Becky Hammon, ESPN’s Mark Jackson, or former Blazers head coach Terry Stotts.

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About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports betting journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports. He regularly provides NBA betting picks, as well as in-depth sportsbook reviews and the latest promo codes for all the major sports gambling operators, including Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and more.