Let the record show that Eddie Jordan owns a home in Princeton, N.J.
All the best maps and computer links indicate a drive from there to the Wachovia Center in reasonable traffic should take about 55 minutes.
Jordan will be making that trip on a regular basis.
That is because the 76ers' coaching search, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, ended tonight. The Daily News learned that the Sixers offered the job to Jordan, the former Sacramento and Washington coach who interviewed twice for the position.
According to the source, nothing official has been signed, but Jordan quickly accepted, and a contract is expected to be finalized, with a formal announcement coming Monday. The team announced the agreement later tonight, after the Daily News first reported it.
“I saw first-hand the immense impact Eddie Jordan had in helping the Nets reach two NBA Finals and as the head coach in Washington, he consistently put his teams in a position to win on a nightly basis,” Sixers president/general manager Ed Stefanski said in a statement. “He embodies all the qualities I was looking for in the next head coach of the Sixers and we are very excited to have him in Philadelphia.”
Comcast SportsNet is reporting that the deal is for 3 years. The Wizards owe Jordan an estimated $4 million for 2009-10, which means that a setoff will be in place if the Sixers’ package starts at less than that.
It is believed that Jordan will bring longtime aide Mike O’Koren as an assistant. There is also reason to believe that current Sixers assistant Aaron McKie will have a role.
Jordan, who went through a second interview with Stefanski, Comcast-Spectacor president/chief operating officer Peter Luukko, and other members of the basketball operations staff earlier this week, was not immediately available for comment.
Dallas assistant Dwane Casey, who also went through a second interview, was made aware of the situation last night.
“I thought it was a first-class process,” Casey said. “I thank Ed Stefanski for allowing me to get to the final two, and even though I didn’t get it, it was definitely first class. I was told it was a matter of having a comfort level with Eddie Jordan, and I totally understand that. I think the world of Ed Stefanski.”
Stefanski has been in Chicago at the NBA predraft combine. He made it a policy not to comment on any details of his search for a replacement for Tony DiLeo while it was ongoing.
DiLeo took over in midstream after the firing of Maurice Cheeks in December, finishing with a record of 32-27, the second-best percentage among the eight replacement coaches in the league. DiLeo, though, removed his name from consideration to continue in the job, instead agreeing to resume his duties as senior vice president/assistant general manager. He did not have a separate contract to coach.
Cheeks, though, remains under contract for the 2009-10 season and is owed an estimated $3 million.
Jordan was fired by Washington with a 1-10 record this season. He took the Wizards to the playoffs four times in his five-plus seasons, leaving with a record of 197-224. Overall, he is 230-288, with an 8-18 record in the playoffs.
When Stefanski began his search he said it was not necessarily important for him to have a history with a candidate, but, in this case, he does. Jordan was the lead assistant with New Jersey for four seasons when Stefanski was an executive with that franchise. The Nets went to the Finals twice during that time, in 2002 and ’03.
Jordan, 54, also interviewed for the vacant Kings job. He spent more than 3 hours with Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof and president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie on May 12. After that meeting, Petrie was quoted as saying, in part: “He displayed some very interesting insights in his analysis of our current roster. We also talked about his development as a coach over the years, and he provided his thoughts on how a young Washington Wizards team improved during his tenure into a team that made the playoffs in four out of his five full seasons there.”
When the Wizards picked up an option on Jordan’s contract in September 2008, team president Ernie Grunfeld said: “Eddie has done an outstanding job and has been instrumental in making us a perennial playoff team.” The Wizards, though, were riddled by injuries, including losing star guard Gilbert Arenas for virtually the entire season.
Jordan played at Rutgers, helping lead the Scarlet Knights to the NCAA Final Four in 1976. He left school as the career leader in assists and steals, and became a second-round draft choice of Cleveland in ’77. He was later a member of the 1982 Lakers that won the NBA championship.
In his seven seasons as a player, he averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals.
The Sixers also conducted interviews with Boston associate head coach Tom Thibodeau, longtime Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis, current Sixers pro personnel scout Chris Ford and Villanova coach Jay Wright. They had informed Rambis that they were going in another direction; Wright, who took the Wildcats to the NCAA Final Four, withdrew from consideration.
Rambis is being viewed as the likely front-runner for the Kings job, although he will not be interviewed until after the Western Conference final series between the Lakers and Denver. Thibodeau is scheduled to meet with the Kings today in Las Vegas. The other known candidate for that job is Paul Westphal, the former Phoenix and Seattle coach.