NBA Offseason: The Sixers Begin Coaching Search After Firing Rivers

Basketball news


  • Nick Nurse is the top betting favorite for the Sixers, Suns, and Bucks
  • James Harden has yet to announce if he will return to the Sixers
  • DraftKings believes the Sixers may promote Sam Cassell, giving him odds just behind Nurse

The Sixers surprised fans by announcing they would not be bringing back Head Coach Doc Rivers next season. This came after the Sixers were embarrassed by the Celtics in Game 7 of their second-round series. It also coincided with rumors that star James Harden would not return if Rivers remained the head coach. 

The move added the Sixers into a coaching market that is suddenly much more competitive. With the Bucks and Suns also looking for coaching, you can expect aggressive negotiations as these teams battle for the top candidates. 

Below we will discuss and compare the job opening against Milwaukee and Phoenix and break down the top candidates to win the job according to NBA betting sites.

Comparing the Sixers, Suns, and Bucks Jobs

So how does the Sixer's job stack up against the Suns and Bucks? The most appealing part of this job for a coach is Joel Embiid. The recently named MVP is in his prime and can lead this team to a top playoff spot, regardless of the talent around him. The question will be is James Harden will return. The star had a great season and is their top passer, making him a crucial part of this offense. Harden hasn't commented on his plans this offseason, which is a drawback for the Sixers as they search for a new coach.

The Phoenix Suns  

 The Suns come in as a top NBA coaching job with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker on the roster. This franchise has been close to a title the last few years but have failed so far. They lack depth, but they do have some trade pieces that can help reload this roster. The Suns also have an advantage of playing in Phoenix, far from the cold and snow of the Philadelphia.

The Sixers' job is a bit more appealing since they have a more complete team at the time of this writing. Also, the Sixers' job offers more long-term security than the Suns. Phoenix gave away a lot to get Durant, who is approaching the end of his career. That means the Sun's championship window is smaller, giving the Sixers job the edge. 

The Milwaukee Bucks

These two jobs will be very similar in the eyes of many coaching candidates. Both have depth behind a generational superstar but are coming off disappointing postseason performances. The difference is that the Bucks are just a couple years removed from an NBA Championship, and they had the NBA’s best record this season. Milwaukee also has a more coach-friendly fanbase, with Sixers' fans being notoriously difficult on their coach and players.

A significant advantage that Philly has here is their city. Philadelphia is a favorite spot for many players and offers far more than Milwaukee. That means recruiting stars and building an even better roster will be easier than in the Brew City. It's not a decisive advantage, but it could be enough to tip the scales if they find themselves pursuing the same candidate as the Bucks.

The Betting Favorites to Win the Sixers Job

Nick Nurse is at the top of the list for all three teams, so it's no surprise to see him at +350 (DraftKings Sportsbook) to become the Sixers' new coach. Nurse won a title with the Toronto Raptors a few years ago, helping the team break end their postseason woes for their first-ever NBA Championship. He is known as a master tactician and would be an excellent fit for this Sixers job. However, DraftKings has him at +200 to go to Milwaukee.

The other favorite to win the job is Sam Cassell, a name outside the top eight candidates for both the Suns and Bucks. Cassell is a former All-Star turned coach who has been an assistant with the Sixers since 2020. His name has been coming up often for open jobs, partly thanks to his relationship with players. He would be a familiar face for this team but bring a much different voice than Doc Rivers. DraftKings has him at +380 to win the Sixers job, putting him barely behind Nurse.

While Cassell and Nurse are the favorites, Monty Williams (+450) and Mike Budenholzer (+500) also have good odds of winning the job. Williams is also being looked at by the Bucks, while Budenholzer is a top contender for the Suns. Both have experience leading winning NBA teams, making them appealing candidates for the Sixer's job.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.