New Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo threw his support behind coach Brett Brown this morning in response to rumors that Brown’s job isn’t secure. A source told Tom Moore of Calkins Media that only a 50% chance exists that Brown will be the coach of the team to start the season, with only a 20% chance that he finishes the 2016/17 campaign, but Colangelo made comments indicating otherwise on The Comcast Network’s “Breakfast on Broad” show this morning (video link), as Derek Bodner of Philadelphia magazine relays.
“I told the ownership Brett Brown is the coach of this basketball team going forward. I left no question [to that],” Colangelo said. “Brett Brown deserves the opportunity. He toed the company line for the last three years, he’s done everything this organization needs him to do, he’s been in the community, coaching clinics, coaching kids. He’s a lifer. He’s a basketball guy. I think Brett Brown is going to be a big driver in what we do.”
Brown signed an extension that carries through the 2018/19 season the same week in December the Sixers hired Jerry Colangelo, Bryan’s father, and it didn’t sit well with Jerry Colangelo that the deal with Brown was already in place, the source told Moore. The same source expects that top assistant coach Mike D’Antoni will ultimately succeed Brown.
Sources speculated to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that Bryan Colangelo might fire Brown and promote D’Antoni into the head coaching job in an effort to keep D’Antoni from leaving for head coaching jobs elsewhere. D’Antoni is reportedly a candidate for the Suns and Wizards vacancies, and Berger relays speculation that he’ll be up for the Nets job, too. Meanwhile, Brown is indeed in the mix for the Brooklyn vacancy, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported.
The Sixers added D’Antoni to the coaching staff a week after Brown signed his extension. Bryan Colangelo, in his television appearance, spoke highly of D’Antoni and acknowledged the possibility that the assistant will leave, as Bodner relays.
“I think Mike D’Antoni might even go away to another job opportunity,” Colangelo said. “There’s speculation on certain jobs in the league and I think Mike’s a perfect candidate for a couple of them, but I hope he’s here because I really think he’s a good basketball coach that can add a lot to what Brett is doing. Mike D’Antoni’s a great basketball mind. He’s really offensive-oriented, and I think Brett is more defensive-oriented. I think it’s a great combination and there’s good chemistry, from what I’ve seen so far.”