Brett Brown will be back as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, ending speculation the team would make a change based on not reaching the Eastern Conference finals.
“Just so we’re clear: My discussions with (owner) Josh Harris since I’ve been here have been direct in relation to, ‘Am I going to be the coach or am I not,'” Brown said Tuesday at the team’s practice facility. “I’m the son of a coach. I’m the fifth-longest tenured coach in the NBA. Coaching doesn’t happen for always. My terms or someone else’s. I’m proud of what we’ve done here. … We’ve arrived at a place where we have a chance at annual success. We have a chance to annually knock out 50-win seasons. We have a chance to annually compete for championships. This is a destination. It wasn’t that when I got here.
“Going into the Toronto series, (Josh Harris) and I had multiple conversations. Is it a relief? It’s deeper than that given our history here. It’s something we’re proud of given the things that we’ve done.”
The 76ers landed at 2 a.m. on Monday after their Game 7 loss in Toronto, and Brown said he conducted 17 interviews. After that he was taken by car to Manhattan for dinner with Harris and general manager Elton Brand.
Harris said Tuesday that Brown’s job was never in jeopardy and they are in contact regularly.
“A lot has been made about this in the press, and truthfully, you can’t believe what you’re hearing,” Harris said Tuesday in a joint press conference with Brand, preceding Brown’s sitdown with media. “We’re very supportive of Brett. He’s not coaching for his job. We’re all accountable — all of us. Brett is our coach. He’s our leader. And we’re moving forward.”
Harris had been hesitant when asked about Brown’s future following a 111-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. And Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Brown would be fired if the 76ers didn’t reach the Eastern Conference finals. Stein admitted via social media on Monday night that he was “clearly wrong” when he cited two sources saying Brown had little chance to survive a series loss to Toronto.
“Brett should be commended,” Harris said.
Players overwhelmingly supported Brown on Sunday night following a Game 7 loss to the Raptors, as Philadelphia’s season ended with one fadeaway corner jumpshot by Kawhi Leonard that sent Toronto to the Eastern Conference finals.
Brown, 58, just completed the second of consecutive 50-win seasons, each ending in the conference semifinals.
He is sixth on the team’s all-time wins list with 178. But he also has 314 losses in the regular season after six seasons; the first four of those seasons were complicated by the team’s mission to collect lottery draft picks. The Sixers finished 52-30 in his fifth season and 51-31 in 2018-19.
Brand has one difficult decision behind him as of Tuesday, but Jimmy Butler, JJ Redick and Tobias Harris are free agents and there is speculation surrounding the future of point guard Ben Simmons.
“We look forward to the challenge,” Brand said.
Among the issues Brand discussed was the durability of center Joel Embiid. The 76ers, Brand said, likely will use more rest or maintenance days to keep Embiid fresh deep into the 2019-20 season. Embiid told Brand of goal to be “the best player ever.”
“We have a culture here — they want to be here,” Brown said.
–Field Level Media