Report: 76ers to hire Nick Nurse as next head coach

Nick Nurse was fired by the Toronto Raptors earlier this year after five seasons with the franchise

Nick Nurse
Nick Nurse is the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. (David Butler II/USA Today)

The Philadelphia 76ers have found their next head coach.

The 76ers struck a deal to hire former Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse on Monday afternoon, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Nurse will replace Doc Rivers, who was fired by Philadelphia earlier this month after three seasons with the franchise.

Nurse was fired by the Toronto Raptors earlier this spring, which marked the end of his first head coaching job in the league. Nurse went 227-163 over five seasons in Toronto, and he helped lead the franchise to its first and only NBA title in 2019 — when he and a Kawhi Leonard-led team beat the Golden State Warriors. The 55-year-old Iowa native was named the league’s Coach of the Year in 2020, too, when the Raptors went 53-19 during the shortened COVID-19 season.

Nurse and the Raptors went 41-41 this season, and missed the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons.

The 76ers fired Rivers earlier this month after they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Rivers went 154-82 over three seasons in Philadelphia, but he failed to make it past the conference semifinals in all three seasons despite leading a team built around league MVP Joel Embiid. The 76ers haven’t been to the conference finals since 2001.

Rivers, 61, has spent 24 seasons as a head coach in the league dating back to 1999, when he got his start with the Orlando Magic. He won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, and got them back to the NBA Finals again two years later. Before landing in Philadelphia, Rivers spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s one of a few top candidates still being considered for the remaining open jobs in the league.

With Nurse’s hiring in Philadelphia, there are now three remaining head coaching jobs open in the league. The Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and Raptors are still searching for head coaches. The Suns fired coach Monty Williams after they were knocked out of the playoffs earlier this month, and Pistons coach Dwane Casey opted to move into a front-office role after their season ended.