The Philadelphia 76ers are hiring Nick Nurse as coach, tasking him with helping to deliver the franchise its first title in 40 years, sources told ESPN on Monday.
The Sixers and Phoenix Suns were engaged with Nurse and his agent, Andy Miller of Klutch Sports, throughout Sunday and Monday, leaving Nurse with a difficult decision between two contending teams, sources said.
Nurse’s desire to coach MVP Joel Embiid and his history with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey played a significant part in his decision to commit to a deal with Philadelphia, sources said. Nurse separated himself in the interview process, selling a vision for the Sixers centered on Embiid.
He’ll now be part of a Sixers organization working to re-sign James Harden, who is expected to become a free agent this summer.
Nurse oversaw an aggressive style of defense coaching the Toronto Raptors this season, helping them become the first team to record the most steals while allowing the fewest since the stat was initially tracked in 1973-74. The Raptors also led the league in points per game off turnovers while allowing the fewest.
Nurse and the Raptors parted ways in April after his fifth season at the helm. Nurse posted a 227-163 (.582) record with Toronto, winning the 2019 NBA championship and the 2020 Coach of the Year award during his tenure.
Embiid will be the first player to win the MVP and start the next season on the same team with a new coach since the Lakers’ Magic Johnson in 1990-91.
Nurse will replace Doc Rivers, who was dismissed after leading the Sixers to three trips to the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Sixers lost in Game 7 to the Boston Celtics in this year’s conference semifinals.
ESPN Stats & Information research contributed to this story.