Friday, September 19, 2014
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With a GM in place, head coach is the next piece to the puzzle for Sixers

The signing of Sam Hinkie was the first piece to the puzzle sitting in front of Sixers’ ownership this summer. Josh Harris apparently got his main man, and now we will have to wait and see how Hinkie handles having the fate of the franchise in his hands.

With a GM in place, head coach is the next piece to the puzzle for Sixers

**FILE** In this April 20, 2008 file photo, Detroit Pistons assistant coach Michael Curry shouts instructions from the bench in the first half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Auburn Hills, Mich. Curry and Terry Porter are possible candidates to replace Flip Saunders, who was fired as the Pistons´ coach Tuesday, June 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
**FILE** In this April 20, 2008 file photo, Detroit Pistons assistant coach Michael Curry shouts instructions from the bench in the first half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Auburn Hills, Mich. Curry and Terry Porter are possible candidates to replace Flip Saunders, who was fired as the Pistons' coach Tuesday, June 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)

The signing of Sam Hinkie was the first piece to the puzzle sitting in front of Sixers’ ownership this summer. Josh Harris apparently got his main man, and now we will have to wait and see how Hinkie handles having the fate of the franchise in his hands.

With a GM in place, the next logical piece to the puzzle for the Sixers is a head coach. The organization has already got the ball rolling in this regard, considering possible candidates, but with Hinkie now at the helm, expect the search to take on a a more focused, and furious feel.

After dealing with the stress and burnout that was apparently an everyday aspect of Coach Collins, it is safe to say the organization may want a fresh face ready to embrace the rebuilding process and willing to teach a young team.

So, despite rumors about a Larry Brown reunion and quiet requests for Phil Jackson or Stan Van Gundy, it would not be shocking if the Sixers went with someone without NBA head coaching experience.

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Brian Shaw, currently an assistant with the Indiana Pacers comes to mind. Shaw however is highly regarded around the league for his basketball mind, and he should have several suitors this summer. Considering the mess that the Sixers made last season, they are not the most desirable of destinations, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Shaw opt in elsewhere.

The same line of logic can be followed for Spurs top assistant Mike Budenholzer, whose name has popped up as a potential target for the 7-6. Budenholzer however is also highly regarded due largely to his long, successful stint next to legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Many think Budenholzer will even serve as Popovich’s successor, making the likelihood that the Sixers will sign him pretty slim.

Warriors assistant Mike Malone is another option, although the team’s strong performance this postseason will certainly generate a bit of a buzz around him. Alongside head coach Mark Jackson, Malone has helped turn the Warriors from a lottery team to one of the most exciting and competitive teams in the league. Malone was a candidate for the vacancy in 2010, but was eventually passed over for Coach Collins. Malone is knowledgeable on both sides of the ball, and could represent that fresh face with a sharp basketball mind that ownership is pining for.

Sixer players, including Jrue Holiday have already voiced their support for current 76ers’ assistant, Michael Curry.

“Curry is somebody I trust, and somebody I’d love as a head coach,” Holiday stated simply. "Obviously we were defensive-based, which is big for us. That was our calling card, and Mike was responsible for that."

For what it’s worth, Evan Turner agreed. “He was great because he was calm in certain situations, and that helps,” Evan added.

Curry’s head coaching resume is slim, consisting only of a single unsuccessful season in Detroit. Despite the lack of success, some feel that the 44 year old deserves another shot, and his familiarity with the Sixers’ system, along with apparently having the support of its players should serve as a plus.

Curry however, worked under the Collins regime, and it is possible the organization will want to make a clean break away from that era, continuing to leave Curry on the outside looking in.

You have to think that the Sixers would like to have a head coach in place by June’s draft date, so expect the search to surge with Hinkie calling the shots. Hinkie’s first major decision will have an enormous impact on the direction of the franchise going forward; let’s see how he handles it.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain Assistant Sports Producer
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