PHILADELPHIA -- In a wide open search for their next head coach, the Philadelphia 76ers dipped into the assistant ranks this week and interviewed Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis and Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey.
The Sixers confirmed on Tuesday that both men were interviewed for the job left open when Tony DiLeo stepped down last week and returned to the front office.
The timing of Rambis' interview was a bit of a surprise as the Lakers were preparing to play Game 1 of the Western Conference finals against Denver on Tuesday night. The 51-year-old Rambis was a key member of the Lakers' 1980s championship teams and is in his seventh season as Phil Jackson's assistant. He was the team's interim coach for 37 games in 1998-99, going 24-13, and also served as assistant general manager of the Lakers from 1999-2001.
Rambis declined to answer questions about the meeting before Game 1 other than to say, "It didn't happen today."
He was asked about meeting with the 76ers as he walked off the court before Game 1.
Casey interviewed on Tuesday and did not immediately respond to an e-mail left by The Associated Press. Sixers president Ed Stefanski is in Los Angeles on a scouting trip and has declined to comment on the search.
The Wolves went 33-49 in Casey's first year in 2006-07 and were 20-20 when vice president Kevin McHale fired him in 2007-08. He spent this season on Rick Carlisle's staff in Dallas.
The Sixers already interviewed former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. They are set to interview Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau. No date has been announced for Thibodeau's interview.
Jeff Van Gundy, Thibodeau's former boss with the New York Knicks, also has been floated as a candidate. Van Gundy is an analyst for ESPN and declined to comment on his interest at halftime of the Denver-Lakers game.
"I'm not going to talk about another job when I got a job to do," he said.
Philadelphia went 41-41 and was eliminated from the playoffs in six games by the Orlando Magic. It was the second straight season the Sixers were eliminated in the first round.