Head coach of the Raptors from 2018 to 2023, the 55-year-old Nurse is regarded as one of the most talented minds in the NBA and was highly sought after following his exit from the Toronto team.
Former Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was relieved of his duties following a disappointing second-round exit against the Boston Celtics.
During the Raptors’ 2019 run to the ring, Nurse masterminded a seven-game series win against his new employers and received a lot of praise for how his team thwarted Joel Embiid’s threat.
After Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7 buzzer beater to sink the Sixers, the Raptors went on to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals and then the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
The following year Nurse continued his good work with the Raptors and won NBA Coach of the Year after leading Toronto to a 53-19 record without former star, Leonard.
Nurse’s journey to the NBA has not followed the traditional route of a modern-day head coach in the league.
The 55-year-old’s desire to become a success in the industry took him to Europe, with his biggest impact coming in the United Kingdom.
Nurse spent many years coaching in the British Basketball League and won two BBL championships, as well as winning coach of the year twice.
Once he had nurtured his coaching skills, Nurse returned to the US and impressed during stints at the D-League (now known as the G League) franchises, Iowa Energy and Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The Raptors then picked up the Iowa native, where he served as an assistant from 2013-2018 before landing the head coach gig.
The main talking point surrounding the Sixers’ new appointment is Nurse’s history with Sixers star and current MVP Embiid.
In the 2022 playoffs, the pair had a heated conversation during a game with Embiid saying, “I told him, respectfully, I told him to stop b***hing about calls.”
Nurse responded, telling reporters: “I got a lot of respect for him. He’s certainly playing great here. There’s nothing there but us trying to compete against him and him trying to compete against us.”
Then following a 2022 regular season game, Embiid said of Nurse’s Raptors, “They just want to shut down the other star players.”
With Nurse and Embiid now united for one franchise, the league could be in for a tough challenge stopping them.
CNN’s Matt Foster and Kevin Dotson contributed to reporting.