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Sixers hire Nick Nurse as head coach: source

Pat Gallen and Don Bell talk Sixers hiring Nick Nurse
Pat Gallen and Don Bell talk Sixers hiring Nick Nurse 08:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Nick Nurse and Daryl Morey are back together again. Nurse on Monday reached an agreement to become the Sixers' next head coach, a source confirmed to CBS News Philadelphia.

Nurse will become the team's 26th head coach in franchise history. The 55-year-old spent five seasons as the Toronto Raptors' head coach, winning an NBA championship in 2018-19 and the NBA Coach of the Year award in 2020.

Toronto made the postseason in three of Nurse's five seasons as head coach.

Morey, the Sixers' president of basketball operations, hired Nurse to coach the Houston Rockets' G-League team, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, in 2011.

Nurse left the Vipers to join Toronto's coaching staff in 2013 and later became the Raptors' head coach in 2018.

The Sixers fired Doc Rivers on May 16 after another second-round exit.

Nurse has an impressive résumé. He worked his way up the coaching ladder and had success in pretty much every place he coached, overseas and in the States. 

Nurse is known for not being afraid to try any new tactics as head coach. In the NBA Finals in 2019, he threw a box-and-one at Stephen Curry. It will be interesting to see how his defenses anchored by Joel Embiid look on the floor.  

In his five seasons as the head coach of the Raptors, Nurse had an overall record of 227-163 in the regular season and went 25-16 in the postseason. 

Some of Nurse's success in the playoffs came against the Sixers. 

Nurse and the Raptors faced off against Philadelphia in a grueling seven-game series during the 2019 playoffs. Kawhi Leonard's buzzer-beater, aka the "quadruple doink" in Game 7, sent the Sixers home in the second round. Toronto went on to win the NBA Finals vs. the Golden State Warriors after topping the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Three years later, the Raptors and Sixers met again in the playoffs. This time, it happened in the first round, where the Sixers edged Toronto 4-2 to advance. 

However, the series featured some animated moments between Embiid and Nurse. 

Following a Game 2 win by the Sixers, Embiid and Nurse were seen on the court and engaging in a back-and-forth. The exchange stemmed from Nurse complaining about the officiating from Game 1, where he thought Embiid was getting too many calls.  

"He's a great coach," Embiid said of Nurse at the time, via CBS Sports. "Obviously, what he's been able to accomplish, and [I've] always been a big fan. But, I told him, respectfully, I told him to stop [expletive] about calls, because I saw what he said last game." 

Now, Nurse and Embiid will need to work together to make things work in the playoffs and get past the second round. 

Embiid, who won the MVP this past season, helped the Sixers have their best regular season in over 20 years, but they fell short once again in the playoffs and lost in seven games to the Celtics. 

Nurse will be Embiid's third head coach in his career after Brett Brown and Rivers. The Iowa native will be tasked with something Brown and Rivers weren't able to do with Embiid-led teams: get past the second round to the Eastern Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. 

The hiring of Nurse is the first of many moves in what's expected to be a busy offseason for the Sixers. 

James Harden is expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent, the Sixers could move on from veteran forward Tobias Harris to get off his contract and they have several free agents they could bring back. 

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