Nick Nurse was widely regarded as the most sought-after head coaching candidate available this year.
With the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns all having vacancies, he essentially had his pick of the litter as far as where to go.
Ultimately, Nurse decided to link up with the Sixers.
He took himself out of the Bucks’ hiring process earlier in the week, prompting them to hire Adrian Griffin. Then he passed on the Suns gig.
According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, several key elements played a pivotal role in Nurse’s decision to come to Philly.
“Nurse’s desire to coach MVP Joel Embiid and his history with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey played a significant part in his decision to commit to a deal with Philadelphia,” he wrote.
“Nurse separated himself in the interview process, selling a vision for the Sixers centered on Embiid.”
James Harden, the Sixers’ other big star, seemingly didn’t play a huge part in Nurse’s decision.
Given Harden’s role in getting Doc Rivers fired and his seemingly looming departure, that certainly makes sense.
Nurse and Embiid obviously have a colorful history.
It will be interesting to see how the pair works together now that they have a common goal in mind.
While Nurse’s fit with Embiid is debatable, his credentials are not. Over the course of five seasons with the Toronto Raptors he posted a 227-163 record and won an NBA championship. It is the only title in the franchise’s storied history.
For his troubles, Nurse also walked away with a 2020 Coach of the Year award.
Will Nurse ultimately be able to replicate the success he had in Toronto with the Sixers? Or will he come to rue the day he passed on the Bucks and Suns jobs? One way or the other, an answer will reveal itself soon enough.