The 76ers are reportedly interested in hiring D’Antoni.
John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
I’m hearing one of the reasons along with coaching that Sixers have a lot of interest in Mike D’Antoni is feeling with some in organization that he could help lure James Harden to Philly
Harden can become a free agent in 2 years and there is possibility of trade pic.twitter.com/gJVecCuhHN
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 24, 2020
If this is the 76ers’ plan, it’s foolish. Stars don’t pick teams to play for a specific coach.
Stars want, among the things in Philadelphia’s control, winning environments. Pick the coach who can help build and maintain that.
Maybe that’s D’Antoni. He had plenty of success with the Rockets and Suns. But choose him for the right reasons – not some Harden pipe dream.
Harden can become a free agent in 2022, but he’d have to decline a $47,366,760 player option for his age-33 season. Otherwise, he’s headed toward 2023 unrestricted free agency. The 76ers would have a tough time clearing max cap space in either offseason.
A trade is possible. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are intriguing chips if Philadelphia becomes willing to trade one. Harden has the cachet to have some say in a trade destination. But Houston has been committed to winning around Harden. With an older team built around Harden, the Rockets couldn’t simply pivot into a new direction with Simmons or Embiid.
In fairness to the 76ers, this is the type of rumor that spreads baselessly. People see D’Antoni’s awkward fit with Philadelphia’s roster and make wild guesses about the team’s motivation. That doesn’t necessarily match the 76ers’ internal reasoning.