Sixers coach Jordan on way out, sources say

From the start, Eddie Jordan's big problem was getting his players to buy into a high IQ Princeton offense.
From the start, Eddie Jordan's big problem was getting his players to buy into a high IQ Princeton offense.
Posted: March 10, 2010

Comcast-Spectacor is ready to fire 76ers coach Eddie Jordan, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Several other sources also indicated that the organization will "seriously evaluate" Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski, who hired Jordan less than a year ago.

One of these sources indicated that the company had considered terminating Jordan earlier, but likely was "deterred" by the early-season firing of former Flyers coach John Stevens.

Comcast-Spectacor owns both franchises.

These sources indicated that Jordan could be fired before this season ends - if it becomes obvious he has lost the team - but more likely after the final game of this dismal season.

One of these sources also characterized Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider as "up in arms" about Jordan's coaching effort, with another source with intimate knowledge of the management's thinking calling Jordan's coaching "baffling."

An NBA source said Jordan's philosophy, which is overloaded on the offensive side with his high-IQ "Princeton" offense, was a mistake at its inception.

"The apathy for this team is back to where it was" in the '90s, the NBA source said. "This team, with that much cap space, at least should be one of the top five teams in the East."

The Sixers are maxed out on salaries through next season, at which point multiple contracts expire. The NBA source said the situation can be fixed. The hiring of a defensive-minded coach whose style would mesh with the team's athletic roster could return the Sixers to the playoffs.

According to sources close to the team, the players "no longer believe in Jordan's coaching system or philosophies" and are trying to finish this season strong for pride and contractual obligation.

The Sixers took a 23-39 record into last night's game, all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Last season, the Sixers finished 41-41, losing to the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs.

In May 2009, Stefanski signed Jordan, who had worked with him for the New Jersey Nets, to a four-year contract worth about $12 million to $13 million. But the fourth year is a team option, as confirmed by a source with knowledge of the deal, meaning the Sixers could fire Jordan after this season and would have to pay him only through the 2011-12 season.

Former Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks, fired in December 2008, comes off the books at the end of the 2009-10 season.

A source close to upper management within Comcast-Spectacor indicated that it's possible Jordan has only survived until now because the company already pulled one trigger, firing Stevens in early December and replacing him with Peter Laviolette.

According to team sources, the players have struggled all season with Jordan's "poor decision-making" during games and "no longer believe" in what Jordan is teaching.

As for possible replacements, it's unlikely Villanova coach Jay Wright would be interested at this time. He interviewed for the job last year.

When reached for comment regarding Jordan's future, Stefanski said that nothing had been discussed within management, that no determination had yet been made, and that he had no comment regarding Jordan's future.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writer Ashley Fox contributed to this article.

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