PHILADELPHIA - Ever since he fired Brett Brown, Elton Brand has been telling everyone who asks that it will take several weeks to hire Brown's successor.
I spent the past few days polling a handful of currently powerless NBA lifers about the coaching vacancy. The consensus: It's a bad job, with a structureless organization. You would work in a brutally demanding town that, after seven years of Processing, itches for validation, but, after seven years of mismanagement, is years (and several catastrophic contracts) away from attainting real relevance.
The main obstacle: the stagnation of Joel Embiid, the 7-foot-2, 270-pound big man whose marketing skills currently outstrip his footwork in the low post and his willingness to use a StairMaster. Paradoxically, Embiid - talented, skilled, and large - also is the main attraction for any incoming coach. Sorry, Ben.
So, who should be the next Sixers coach? Who's the best candidate? They are not the same question; not exactly. And the best person for the job says he doesn't want it.
- It's not Mike D'Antoni
The old heads I spoke with said the Sixers lack the proper players to accommodate D'Antoni's freewheeling styles. He succeeded, to degrees, in Phoenix and Houston, but failed in Los Angeles and New York. He also clashed with big-market stars Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks and Dwight Howard in L.A.; how do you think he'd fare with the petulant Process?
D'Antoni spent a few lusterless months on Brown's struggling Sixers staff in 2016, and we can fully expect the team and D'Antoni to dance around the prospect of him landing back in Philly. But those will be bluffs, aimed at Philly's real candidates and D'Antoni's real landing spot.
That's for the best. Hiring D'Antoni would be as bad a fit as signing a player like Al Horford.