• Mike D'Antoni is one of the top candidates to be the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, a report said
  • The former Rockets coach is expected to meet with the team soon for the next round of interviews
  • The Sixers fired Brett Brown in August after a first-round exit in the NBA playoffs

Two-time NBA Coach of the Year Mike D’Antoni has taken a step forward in landing the Philadelphia 76ers' head-coaching job, a report said.

Since announcing the end of his ties with the Houston Rockets, D’Antoni has been linked to a return to Philadelphia as the team looks to rebuild after a disappointing 2019-20 season. The Athletic's Shams Charania reported, citing unnamed sources, that D'Antoni is one of “several” candidates 76ers general manager Elton Brand interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy that opened up after the firing of Brett Brown.

D’Antoni is set to meet with the team in the next several days for the next round of interviews, insiders told the NBA reporter. Other candidates who made the shortlist include Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Ty Lue and former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey, who has a good track record for Sixers news, earlier learned from an unnamed league source that D'Antoni was at the top of the team's wishlist. However, an anonymous team insider denied in the same report that he was the favorite to become the next head coach.

The American-Italian tactician boasts a 20-year coaching experience both in the NBA and overseas, including notable stints in Phoenix and Houston.

D’Antoni served as the Sixers’ associate head coach under Brown during the 2015-16 NBA season before signing with Houston, where he received his second NBA Coach of the Year award for the 2016–17 season.

In August, Brand announced that the search for the next head coach would begin immediately after the team parted ways with Brown, whose dismissal came shortly after the Boston Celtics swept the 76ers out of the NBA playoffs.

“[Brown] did many positive things during his time here, developing young talent and helping position our team for three straight postseason appearances,” the Sixers GM said via

“Unfortunately, we fell well short of our goals this year and I believe it is best to go in a new direction,” he added. “This will be an important offseason for us as we look to get back on track towards our goal of competing for an NBA championship.”

D'Antoni has one less rival for the position, however, as Donovan has signed with the Chicago Bulls to be their new head coach, replacing Jim Boylen. In an official statement on Tuesday, Sept. 22, he thanked the team's ownership “for the opportunity to coach the Chicago Bulls.”

The former Oklahoma City Thunder coach also said he is looking forward to working with Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls' executive vice president of basketball operations.

“I'm excited to partner with Arturas as we work together on behalf of this historic franchise,” he said.

Mike D'Antoni
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni is confident his team will perform well in the playoffs. In this picture, D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 27, 2019. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images