Nick Nurse

Nick Nurse hired as Sixers head coach, source confirms

The Sixers have landed on Nick Nurse as their next head source, a source confirmed Monday to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Nick Nurse
USA Today Sports Images

Nick Nurse is up next as head coach of the Sixers.

The team has hired Nurse to replace Doc Rivers, a source confirmed Monday to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

Nurse, who was fired in April by the Raptors after serving as the team's head coach for five seasons, was clearly an especially strong candidate among the free-agent coaches. His 2018-19 Raptors team won the NBA title and the University of Northern Iowa product's bold, aggressive schemes shined during that postseason run. The next year, Toronto went 53-19 and Nurse earned the Coach of the Year award.

"We’re looking for someone who brings leadership and accountability," Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said after firing Rivers, "someone who is good at tactics; someone who has great relationships with his star players; someone who’s good at recruiting star players and that players want to play for; someone who builds a great organization.

"I 100 percent believe we had that with Coach Rivers … but those are the kinds of criteria we looked at. Those are the kinds of criteria that led to hiring Doc, and we’re going to work hard to find someone who hits all those marks again.”

Defensively, Nurse's Toronto teams were known for their determination to frustrate opposing stars with regular double teams, nonstop scrambling, and tons of deflections and forced turnovers.

During the Sixers' 2022 first-round playoff series win over the Raptors, Nurse's complaints about the officiating also irritated Sixers star Joel Embiid.

“He’s a great coach, obviously … what he’s been able to accomplish. I’ve always been a big fan of him,” Embiid said. “But I told him, respectfully, to stop bitching about calls, because I saw what he said last game.

“If you’re going to triple team somebody, they’re bound to get to the free-throw line — or if you’re going to push them off, try to hold them off and all that stuff, they’re bound to get to the free-throw line. I feel like all the fouls were legit and there probably should’ve been more, honestly.” 

Nurse and Morey previously worked together with the Rockets organization. In the 2012-13 season, Nurse led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the D League championship.

Ten years later, Morey and Nurse are teaming up in search of an NBA title.

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