Michael Curry hasn't yet interviewed with Sixers


Michael Curry hasn't yet interviewed with Sixers

ORLANDO – The Sixers’ coaching search continues with each passing day and does so in relative secrecy.

Thirteen head coaching vacancies have opened up this offseason and 12 of those jobs have been filled.

The Sixers remain the lone opening and figuring out whom the franchise will tab is anyone’s guess.

Michael Curry served as Doug Collins’ associate head coach. Curry was head coach of the Detroit Pistons in 2008-09 and finished the season with 39-43 record before being fired.

Curry has a year left on his contract along with other assistants Jeff Capel and Aaron McKie. Curry was given the reigns to coach the Sixers’ team in the Orlando Pro Summer League. However, he has not formally interviewed for the position with president and general manager Sam Hinkie.

“Sam and I, we have talked about it. Sometime after the summer league it will happen,” Curry said after the Sixers’ 74-62 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday. “I knew that when he and I first talked that it was going to be a long process and I am under contract, so I said I will be here working every day.

“I said you let me know when you want to talk, and to me every day that you are working you are doing an interview. That is how I have approached it, just go to work every day.”

A year ago, Curry interviewed for the Orlando Magic head coaching position before Jacque Vaughn was hired. This offseason, Curry also interviewed with Milwaukee before Larry Drew was named the Bucks’ new head coach.

Curry is meticulous with his craft. He is definitely a teacher and holds professionalism in high regard. Curry talks to the media daily following each summer league contest and always has the big picture in mind in addition to comments about the game.

“Guys are going to have to play hard and compete every time out on the court,” Curry said. “You can’t make a lot of mental mistakes, especially when you get fatigued. With young guys that is always the challenge, to play through fatigue.

“We have had a lot of practices in the morning and then coming here. But we are not going to let up on them. We are using these 10 days to push them and really identify what they need to work on and they can really identify how hard it is going to be to be successful in this league.”

Curry’s words sound similar to those Hinkie has used when talking about player development, suggesting the two share similar philosophies about how the team should move forward.

Meanwhile sports columnist Peter Vecsey tweeted Wednesday that a source said Hinkie is considering hiring Lloyd Pierce as head coach.

Pierce is an assistant coach with the Grizzlies. He previously worked with the Cavaliers and Warriors in player development. He played his college basketball at Santa Clara, graduating in 1998 and began his coaching career at his alma mater as an assistant in 2003 after spending one year as the program’s director of basketball operations.

One NBA source said Pierce is a highly valued player development guy, but that he would be shocked if the Sixers hired him as their head coach.

Sixers 'all over the place' different without Ben Simmons

Sixers 'all over the place' different without Ben Simmons

CAMDEN, N.J. — It has been over three weeks since Ben Simmons suffered an acute Jones fracture in his right foot during the final scrimmage of training camp. The Sixers had constructed schemes around the rookie point-forward and watched unconventional lineups play out at Stockton University.

Those “can’t-wait-to-see” situations have been delayed to “wait-and-see” as Simmons recovers.

“Where do you begin?” Brett Brown said after practice Sunday. “I could talk for three days on what’s different without Ben Simmons. It’s all-over-the-place different. The core values of how you want to do different things there remain the same, but the whole landscape changed.”

This week was supposed to be the debut of a new-look system featuring a player who could influence the game with his versatility and athleticism. Brown even had experimented with pairing Simmons and Dario Saric at the two and three positions. Instead, the Sixers once again will start a regular season shorthanded by injuries.

Simmons was projected to start at power forward and also handle point responsibilities. His multitasking lessened the need for the Sixers to find a standout point guard this summer. They signed veteran Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez, who is returning to the NBA for his second stint.

Bayless was expected to start, with the intention of Simmons running the floor at times. Now, neither can play. Bayless has been sidelined by a ligament injury in his left wrist. The Sixers announced on Friday that Bayless will have a non-surgical rehab and will be reevaluated in two weeks.

Brown on Sunday was undecided on whether Rodriguez or second-year point guard T.J. McConnell would start at the one on opening night.

“He was going to be one of the primary ballhandlers,” Brown said of Simmons. “And with that, floor spots and spacing and how you actually set this thing up changes dramatically.”

The players also have noticed a change without Simmons in the backcourt. Joel Embiid, playing his first season after missing the past two with foot injuries, found himself struggling with his shot selection early on in the preseason. He got glimpses in camp of how Simmons could improve that.

“He’s such a big presence and he’s really important to us,” Embiid said. “He just makes plays. I’ve been rushing shots and that’s where it comes in play. Someone like him can help me get better shots because he can get me easy baskets.”

Simmons’ absence also fast-forwarded Saric’s transition in his first NBA season. The injuries to Simmons and Jahlil Okafor (right knee) have pushed Saric into the starting power forward role during the preseason. The rookie has been learning on the go in a new league.

“He has been thrown into the fire,” Brown said of Saric last week (see story).

Simmons recently went through a two-week, post-operative exam and had sutures removed. He is working on day-to-day rehab with the Sixers' staff while also spending time talking with Brown. The team is implementing a multi-faceted recovery program of education, health and shot improvement.

This includes meeting with Brown to break down his game — where it is now and where it can develop in the future. Brown wants to make sure Simmons knows the ins and outs of the system so he is best prepared to begin his rookie season once cleared to play.

“I think that part of my excitement is I get with Ben every day while we’re here and go into my office for half-an-hour and it’s like basketball-NBA 101,” Brown said.

That’s one aspect of Simmons’ injury for which Brown can prepare.

Sixers sign former Temple great Dionte Christmas

Sixers sign former Temple great Dionte Christmas

Hours before Monday's 5 p.m. NBA deadline to finalize rosters for opening night, the Sixers signed former Temple guard Dionte Christmas.

Christmas, now 30, hasn't played in an NBA regular-season game since 2013-14, when he appeared in the only 31 contests of his career with the Suns.

He was a standout at Temple, where he averaged 15.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 130 games, leading the Atlantic 10 in scoring in three consecutive seasons.

Christmas played in the NBA Summer League six years in a row after going undrafted in 2009. He was originally signed by the Sixers in September 2009 after playing with them that summer in Orlando.

Christmas has also spent seven seasons overseas, most recently with Torku Konyaspor Basket in Turkey.

The Sixers now have 20 players on their roster. They have five cuts to make by 5 p.m and likely roster casualties include Brandon Paul, James Webb III, Cat Barber and Shawn Long.