Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski has reached out to Villanova coach Jay Wright to gauge his interest in the vacant Sixers head-coaching position.
A source close to Wright said the coach was flattered that Stefanski wanted to talk about it, but that he was not interested in being considered. It is known among those close to Wright that the coach might have some interest in coaching in the NBA at some point. That point has obviously not come.
Stefanski has already interviewed former Washington and Sacramento head coach Eddie Jordan, former Minnesota coach Dwane Casey, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau.
And here is a statement from the Sixers and Stefanski released this morning:
"In the past week, I have completed interviews with six candidates, all of whom are exceptionally qualified, have an impressive knowledge of the game and are very well-respected within the basketball community.
"I truly appreciate that they took time out of their schedules to meet with me regarding this position. Along with my staff, we will continue our due diligence – including further interviews, extensive research and in-depth background checks – before a final selection is made.
Would Jay Wright do a good job in the NBA?
"As I have said before, the qualities I am looking for in our next head coach include excellent communication and leadership skills, will stress the importance of accountability while also developing our players and will be a strong tactician.
"As such, due to the number of candidates still involved in the process, there is no timetable set for when this very important decision regarding the future direction of the franchise will be made."
Four of the candidates were already known. Now, we know Jay Wright's name. According to a source, the sixth name is Chris Ford, a former Sixers coach and currently a pro personnel scout for the team.
Here is a very recent release from Villanova's media relations department:
In response to reports linking his name to the Philadelphia 76ers vacant head coaching position, Villanova’s Jay Wright said today that although he met with the team’s president and general manager Ed Stefanski last week, he requested that his name be removed from consideration for the position.
“Last week, Ed reached out to me to see if I would be willing to speak to him about the Sixers’ coaching position,” stated Wright. “He is a longtime friend of mine whom I have great respect for and is someone I talk to often. We had a lively conversation about the vision Ed has for the Sixers organization. As a lifelong Sixers fan, I was honored to be part of the process.
“Following our meeting, I called Ed to thank him and requested that he remove me from consideration. I love Villanova and it is where I want to be. I am grateful to the Sixers for including me in the process. There is a lot to look forward to for Sixer fans like me with the young talent they have put together and the leadership of Ed Stefanski.”
The Sixers are not through with the interview process. A source close to the situation told the Daily News' Phil Jasner that the Sixers plan to contact fomer Dallas coach Avery Johnson and possibly current TNT analyst Doug Collins.
The source said there had initially been internal discussions about contacting San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer, who was a finalist for the Phoenix job that went to Terry Porter. It remains unclear whether the team will follow through. There is no apparent frontrunner at this point.
No current members of the coaching staff are under consideration, the source said. The new coach will have flexibility to hire assistants.