With James Harden Joining Sixers, Who is the Pressure is On?
With the big trade the brought James Harden to the Sixers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks, comes expectations. With expectations comes pressure.
So now that the deal is done, who is under the most pressure to take the Sixers to the next level? The team has made its way to the second-round of the NBA playoffs multiple times, but hasn't been able to find its way back to the Eastern Conference Finals since that magical run in 2001.
So now the pressure turns to Doc Rivers.
When the team makes a trade to bring a player like Harden to the team, coupled with a player who is playing at an MVP level, they are expecting big things and its up to Rivers to get all the pieces to fit together.
Embiid with Harden. Harden with Maxey, Who will step in behind Embiid with Drummond gone? Who will replace the shooting of Curry?
These are just some of the questions that Rivers needs to find answers to with just 26 games remaining before the playoffs begin.
With pressure comes rumors, and there is already one making its way around league circles in the aftermath of the blockbuster deal. This one comes from veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein, which states that Sixers President Daryl Morey is already looking to his former head coach in Houston, Mike D'Antoni, to replace Rivers on the sidelines.
"The conspiracy theory already making the rounds in league coaching circles holds that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey will eventually want Mike D’Antoni to take over in the hot seat for Philadelphia’s new Joel Embiid/James Harden tag team after D’Antoni’s offensive creativity helped catapult Harden to three scoring titles in Houston."
D'Antoni was a former assistant on Brett Brown's staff for half a season before heading to Houston to be paired with Harden. The duo brought the Rockets to new heights, with Harden wining three league scoring titles in a row and a league MVP with D'Antoni in charge of the offense.
Stein notes that it is a "conspiracy theory" and Sixers reporter Kyle Neubeck of Phillyvoice.com confirms that there is no validity to it at this time.
Keep in mind, Rivers is in the second year of a reported five-year, $40 million contract, which would mean Josh Harris would be paying a lot of money to get out of the deal and pay another coach to come in and coach the team.
Another thing to consider, D'antoni is 70 years old, how much longer does he really want to travel around, running a NBA team.