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76ers hope new coach Nick Nurse can lead team to NBA title

Click to play video: 'Masai Ujiri discusses decision to fire Nick Nurse as head coach of the Toronto Raptors'
Masai Ujiri discusses decision to fire Nick Nurse as head coach of the Toronto Raptors
Masai Ujiri discusses decision to fire Nick Nurse as head coach of the Toronto Raptors – Apr 21, 2023

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers have named Nick Nurse as their new head coach as the franchise chases its first NBA championship in 41 years.

The 76ers hired the 55-year-old Nurse, whom the Toronto Raptors fired in April. Nurse led the Raptors to the 2019 NBA championship after they beat Joel Embiid and the Sixers in Game 7 of the the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Nurse replaced Doc Rivers, who was fired after he led the 76ers to their second straight 50-win season behind Embiid, this season’s league MVP, but again failed to lead them to the Eastern Conference finals.

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The 76ers held a 3-2 semifinals series lead against Boston before dropping Game 6 at home and getting crushed in Game 7 on the road.

“It’s been a fun challenge coaching against this group over the last five years,” Nurse said in a statement. “Now, I look forward to coaching the Sixers and doing my part to deliver for this tremendous fanbase.”

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Nurse will be introduced later Thursday at the 76ers’ headquarters in New Jersey. The length of his contract was not immediately revealed.

“His championship pedigree and diversity of experience mixed with his uniquely creative approach made him our top priority,” team president Daryl Morey said.

“We are confident that his leadership and expertise will help us unlock the full potential of our talented roster and bring an exciting new era of championship basketball to Philadelphia.”

Nurse went 227-163 in his five seasons as coach in Toronto, where his .582 winning percentage ranks as the best of any coach in Raptors history. He spent five years as an assistant to former Raptors coach Dwane Casey before taking over the top job.

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