Brett Brown

Sixers Have Interest In Robert Covington, Other Players

The Sixers are parsing the trade market for reinforcements who can shoot the ball. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Philadelphia has expressed interest in several role players, including Malik Beasley, Glenn Robinson III, Davis Bertans, E’Twaun Moore, and Andre Iguodala. O’Connor adds that the team has also inquired on Robert Covington, whom the team dealt away in the Jimmy Butler deal last season.

Most of those names, including Covington, are truly available. The price for Minnesota’s wing is expected to be high and with Philadelphia void of shiny assets, GM Elton Brand will have to get creative if he is going to bring back Sam Hinkie’s former gem.

Zhaire Smith is the young prospect the team is most willing to part with. Rivals teams have more interest in Matisse Thybulle, though Philadelphia is reluctant to deal the No. 20 overall pick. The franchise owns all of its own draft picks starting in the 2021 draft, so the Sixers could attempt to sweeten any deal with a future asset.

Other names on that list could be more obtainable than RoCo. It’ll be tough to pry Bertans from Washington, as the team can envision him as a long-term piece, but Iguodala, Moore, and Robinson are in obvious selling situations. Denver won’t be a seller at the trade deadline, but with a deep rotation and Beasley’s impending restricted free agency, the franchise is smartly assessing the market for the shooting guard.

Here’s more on Philadelphia.

  • O’Connor contends that the Sixers should consider making a bigger move for Chris Paul, swapping either Tobias Harris or Al Horford and additional salary for the 34-year-old point guard. However, the scribe hears that Harris and Horford, each of whom signed long-term deals this offseason, aren’t any more tradeable than CP3.
  • Trading Simmons doesn’t appear likely, in part because it would mean “putting all your superstar eggs in the Embiid basket,” and the big man has had a shaky injury history. O’ Connor wonders if Simmons would be the one the team decides to build around if forced to choose between the two.
  • Big changes will likely come with an early exit in the playoffs, though many around the game believe it would be Brett Brown who takes the fall in that scenario. There were rumblings that former team president Bryan Colangelo was planning to fire Brown and replace him with Villanova coach Jay Wright, but that was before Twittergate. Still, O’Connor hears from multiple sources that Brown didn’t have the best relationship with the locker room last season.

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Young, Drummond, Theis

Sixers point guard Ben Simmons has stopped taking 3-pointers and coach Brett Brown considers it a personal failure, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps relays. Brown wants Simmons to take at least one long range shot per game but Simmons hasn’t attempted any in the past month.

“Evidently I have failed and it’s something that we’re all mindful of, and this is one of these things that is never going to go away,” Brown said of Simmons, who agreed to a five-year, $170MM extension with the Sixers over the summer. “The attention this has received is remarkable. But I guess i helped fuel it, and I own it, and I’ve got to help him find this, and most importantly, he has to find himself.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls haven’t given any indication they plan to move power forward Thaddeus Young but his contributions have been limited by a lack of playing time, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Young signed a partially-guaranteed three-year, $43.6MM contract with the Bulls over the summer. He’s averaging nine fewer minutes with Chicago than he did last season with Indiana and he’s shooting a career-low 39.5% from the field, in part because he’s taking more 3-pointers.
  • Getting traded would be the best thing for Pistons center Andre Drummond, Ben Golliver of the Washington Post argues. Detroit is spinning its wheels and its long-term prospects are not promising, since the Pistons are lacking in young talent and don’t have a long-term solution at point guard, Golliver continues. The Pistons have been unwilling to give Drummond a generous extension, so there’s no reason for him to look back if he’s dealt, Golliver adds. Drummond’s name popped up in trade rumors last week.
  • Big man Daniel Theis has become an invaluable member of the Celtics rotation with key plays he’s made late in games, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston notes. Theis is essentially playing for his contract since his $5MM salary for the 2020/21 season is not guaranteed.

Brett Brown Finalizing Deal To Coach Australian National Team

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in the process of finalizing a deal that would once again make him the head coach of Australia’s national team, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Brown, who has been the Sixers’ coach since the 2013/14 season, previously served as an assistant for the Australian national team from 1995-2003, then took over as the program’s head coach in 2009. He remained in that role through 2012, leading Australia to an appearance in the quarterfinals of the ’12 Olympics in London — the team was eliminated by the United States.

Before he became an assistant for the Spurs in 2002, Brown coached multiple teams in Australia and New Zealand, spending time in Sydney, Melbourne, and Auckland.

Since taking over as the 76ers’ head coach, Brown has amassed a 186-319 (.368) record, though most of those losses were accumulated during the “Process” years as the franchise went through a long rebuild. Since the start of the 2017/18 season, Brown has a 111-66 (.627) regular season record, plus a 12-10 mark in the playoffs.

Brown will be assuming control of an Australian club that has already claimed its spot in the 2020 Olympics as a result of its 2019 World Cup success. Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, and former No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut are among the notable players expected to represent Australia in Tokyo next summer.

It will be interesting to see whether Brown’s hiring will influence Ben Simmons‘ Olympic decision. Simmons, who plays for Brown in Philadelphia, opted against joining Australia for the World Cup but could still suit up for the squad in Tokyo.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Thybulle, Thabeet, Irving

Brett Brown knows what the bottom of the Eastern Conference looks like; now he wants to see the top. The Sixers coach declared his lofty goal during a luncheon speech today, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want to get the No. 1 seed,” Brown told the gathering.

It’s a drastic turnaround for a coach who suffered through the worst of “The Process” and won just 10 games during the 2015/16 season. The Sixers are coming off back-to-back 50-win years and are still stinging from their playoff elimination by the eventual champion Raptors on a Kawhi Leonard shot that bounced on the rim several times before falling in.

Philadelphia enters this season as a co-favorite with the Bucks in the East. The team lost Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick in free agency, but re-signed Tobias Harris and added Al Horford and Josh Richardson.

“We have had back-to-back 50-win teams, we have a 25-year-old All-Star [Joel Embiid] and a 23-year-old All-Star [Ben Simmons],” Brown told Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have the best team I have had this year. We have the deepest bench, we have veterans, we have men, we got pieces. [General manager] Elton Brand has done a hell of a job.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Matisse Thybulle has been medically cleared to practice when camp opens, Pompey tweets. The rookie guard rolled his ankle earlier this week, but the injury turned out to be minor. The Sixers traded up in this year’s draft to get Thybulle with the 20th pick.
  • The Knicks have an opening on their roster heading into camp, but they won’t use it to sign Hasheem Thabeet, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Thabeet worked out for New York and spent time with the team in August and September. The vacancy occurred because Kris Wilkes, who was expected to sign a two-way contract, is still battling an illness that will prevent him from attending camp.
  • Kyrie Irving is day to day after suffering a left side facial fracture, the Nets tweeted. The injury happened during a workout Tuesday.

Atlantic Notes: B. Brown, Butler, Anunoby, Nets

After telling ESPN on Monday night that head coach Brett Brown would be retained by the Sixers for the 2019/20 season, managing partner Josh Harris insisted today that Brown was never on the hot seat and knew during the series vs. Toronto that his job wasn’t in jeopardy (Twitter link via Keith Pompey of Philly.com).

“Lots (has) been made about this in the press, and truthfully, you can’t believe what you’re hearing,” Harris said of the Brown rumors, per Jon Johnson of WIP (Twitter link).

While the Sixers ultimately decided to stick with Brown, it’s odd that Harris should act as if the decision was never in doubt, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. In a tweet, Bodner points out that the team had a number of opportunities to squash speculation about Brown’s job security in recent weeks and months, and never did so.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Although he was quiet at times and saw his stats dip during the regular season after joining the Sixers, Jimmy Butler showed in the playoffs why he’ll still be one of the top free agents on the market this summer. As Marc Narducci of Philly.com relays, Butler believes the offers he gets this July will reflect that. “Technically I think, knock on wood, I will get a max contract anywhere I choose to go,” Butler said on Monday. “So if you are talking a four-year, five-year, that is more than enough money anyway. I think I still have more than enough money now from my first deal.”
  • Raptors forward OG Anunoby is starting to get more active, but it’ll still be another week before he can get up close to full speed, head coach Nick Nurse said today (Twitter link via Blake Murphy of The Athletic). In other words, Anunoby – who is recovering from an appendectomy – sounds unlikely to play a real role in the Eastern Finals unless he’s able to get back near the end of the series.
  • Draft-and-stash prospect Isaia Cordinier expects to play for the Nets in this year’s Summer League and hopes to join the team at some point, as he tells French site BeBasket (link via NetsDaily).
  • Illinois State wing Milik Yarbrough was among the prospects who worked out for the Nets last week, tweets Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Brett Brown Will Remain Sixers’ Head Coach

Brett Brown will return as the Sixers’ head coach next season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Philadelphia’s managing partner Josh Harris informed Wojnarowski of the decision.

Harris, Brown and GM Elton Brand met on Monday to discuss offseason priorities, including the draft and free agency, Wojnarowski adds.

Brown, 58, has been the head coach in Philadelphia since the 2013/14 season. He guided the Sixers to 52 and 51 regular-season wins during the past two seasons, but the team has been eliminated in the conference semifinals both years. Philadephia took Toronto to the limit but fell in Game 7 Sunday on Kawhi Leonard‘s last-second field goal.

Prior to the series finale, a report indicated that Brown would likely lose his job unless the Sixers reached the NBA Finals.

If the Sixers had parted ways with Brown they would have paid him not to coach. He was handed a three-year extension last May by former president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo.

Several Philadelphia’s players, including J.J. RedickJimmy Butler and Joel Embiid, expressed support for Brown after the heart-wrenching loss on Sunday and that may have helped his cause.

However, the Sixers’ roster could look much different next season with three starters — Butler, Redick and Tobias Harris — becoming free agents.

Sixers Notes: Brown, Butler, Harris, Redick

Prior to Sunday’s Game Seven, a report indicated that Brett Brown could be in danger of losing his job if he couldn’t lead his Sixers past the Raptors (and perhaps the Bucks too). Now that the 76ers have been eliminated, we’re still waiting for official word on where Brown stands, but many of his players would like to see him back on the sidelines next season, as Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes.

“I would say this in general. For any NBA team, when you think about a coach, and potentially replacing that coach, you have to consider what coaches are available,” J.J. Redick said. “You know what I mean? That’s just in general. I don’t feel it necessary to defend Brett to anyone. I think his work speaks for itself.”

Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid also offered up praise for Brown, with Butler stating, “I think he’s going to be here for a long time.” Embiid called rumors about Brown’s hot seat “bulls—,” adding, “I don’t think he should have anything to worry about.”

The unity displayed by many of the Sixers’ key players on Brown may reflect a deeper sense of family and culture that has developed in Philadelphia this year, as Jake Fischer of SI.com tweets. According to Fischer, multiple people close to the team have credited Embiid and Ben Simmons for helping cultivate that culture by embracing one another as franchise partners.

As we wait to learn Brown’s fate, let’s round up several more items on the Sixers:

  • Embiid would like to see both of Philadelphia’s top free agents – Butler and Tobias Harris – return next season, calling them “great guys on and off the court,” tweets Pompey. Here’s what Butler said about his upcoming free agency, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter link): “I haven’t thought about (free agency) too much…You always want to be able to win. I think that’s key for sure. You’re looking at coaches. You’re looking at the city. There’s a lot that goes in to it.”
  • They won’t be paid like Butler and Harris, but Redick and Mike Scott both expressed interest in returning to the Sixers as free agents too (Twitter links via Pompey and Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice). Redick said he’d like to finish his career in Philadelphia, while Scott said he has spoken to both GM Elton Brand and head coach Brett Brown, telling them he’d like to play under Brown next season.
  • In an Insider-only piece, ESPN’s Bobby Marks previews the Sixers’ offseason, writing that failing to re-sign at least one of Butler or Harris would be a “disaster” for the franchise. In his own look at the Sixers’ summer, Sean Deveney of Sporting News suggests Harris is more likely to return than Butler, but he expects the team to do all it can to bring back both forwards.
  • The safe bet heading into the offseason is that the Sixers bring back a relatively similar roster and count on increased familiarity with one another to lead to continued improvement. However, as Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports writes, some executives around the NBA wouldn’t be shocked to see wholesale changes in Philadelphia this summer.

Sixers Notes: Butler, Simmons, Brown, Embiid

Jimmy Butler proved he’s worth a max offer this summer with his performance against the Raptors in Game 6, contends Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Butler contributed 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists as the Sixers forced a seventh game. He also provided the type of leadership the franchise was counting on when it traded for him in November.

“In the first half, the authority and the skill package and his will — put whatever words you want,” coach Brett Brown said. “You could sense the serious side. He got it as much as anybody. He led us. His performance mirrored his attitude.”

It could cost the Sixers up to approximately $190MM over five years to keep Butler once he opts out of his current contract. It won’t be an easy decision in a summer when Tobias Harris will also want a max deal and fellow starter J.J. Redick will be a free agent, but it may be a commitment that Philadelphia has to make.

There’s more Sixers news to pass along:

  • Ben Simmons seemed like a different player in Game 6 with a 21/8/6 line after being limited to 10 or fewer points in the previous four games. Zach Lowe of ESPN examines whether the Sixers can ever win big with Simmons on their roster, concluding that he may have to settle for a role similar to Draymond Green on offense until he can develop a jump shot.
  • Brown’s fate shouldn’t depend on having to win tonight’s Game 7, writes Derek Bodner of the Athletic. A report surfaced yesterday that Brown will likely be fired if the Sixers can’t advance past the second round, and they may have to reach the NBA Finals for him to save his job. Bodner states that determining Brown’s future based on one game would be a poor decision from managing partner Josh Harris, who has long valued process over results.
  • Joel Embiid is on the brink of a suspension after picking up his third flagrant foul of the playoffs late in Thursday’s game, notes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. The league office decided not to rescind the flagrant 1, which was called when Embiid struck Marc Gasol in the face while they were battling for a rebound. “It’s annoying, it’s stupid,” Embiid said after the game. “I feel like the one in Brooklyn should be rescinded and tonight, it’s just basketball. I didn’t mean to do it. I just happened to hit him in the face I guess and didn’t mean to do it.”

Brett Brown’s Job In Jeopardy?

Brett Brown may be coaching to keep his job as the Sixers face the Raptors in Game 7 tomorrow, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Stein states that Brown “has little chance of surviving a second-round exit” and likely needs to reach the NBA Finals to avoid being fired.

Philadephia took two big roster gambles this season, trading for Jimmy Butler in November and Tobias Harris in February. Both will be free agents this summer, along with J.J. Redick, and it appears the front office won’t forgive Brown if the team doesn’t win big right away.

Brown’s first sign of trouble came just before the opening-round series against the Nets when managing partner Josh Harris sidestepped an opportunity to give him a vote of confidence. Harris responded to a question on the topic by saying the entire organization has “high expectations.”

A coaching change would be a costly move for the Sixers, who gave Brown a three-year extension last May. However, that decision was made by former president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, who left the team a week later after an incident involving Twitter burner accounts.

Brown, 58, has been the head coach in Philadelphia since the 2013/14 season, surviving a lot of lean years during “The Process” as the team lost big to accumulate assets. He has led the Sixers to 52 and 51 wins the past two seasons, along with a second-round playoff loss last year.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Brown, Williams, Harding

The playoffs opened with three upsets, but nobody had a worse day than the Sixers, writes Michael Lee of The Athletic. Philadelphia’s problems go beyond the final score, as nearly every fear about the team heading into the postseason came true. Joel Embiid‘s sore knee, Ben Simmons‘ limited shooting range, the lack of a bench, defensive concerns and chemistry issues were all on display as fans booed loudly in a loss to the Nets.

Some observers believe the Sixers compiled the most talented starting unit in the league by trading for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, but those five players only took the court together 10 times in the regular season. And with Butler, Harris and J.J. Redick all headed for free agency, the team could easily break apart if the postseason doesn’t go well.

An even greater concern might be Embiid’s physical condition. Bothered by tendinitis in his left knee that limited him to eight games after the All-Star break, Embiid wasn’t sure if he could play until 15 minutes before Saturday’s contest began. He lumbered up and down the court for much of the afternoon, settled for outside jumpers and was frequently targeted by the Nets on defense.

“I tell him all the time, it’s about him being healthy,” Butler said. “Yeah, he can help us but at the same time, he can hurt us if he gets worse. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely want Jo out there. But we want him healthy.”

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Managing partner Josh Harris passed on a chance to give coach Brett Brown a vote of confidence before yesterday’s opener, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harris has commented before that it could be “problematic” if the team doesn’t make a long playoff run. “What I meant by it is that all of us – Brett, [general manager] Elton [Brand], me, a lot of us, the players on the team. We have high expectations. So that is what I meant,” Harris said when asked about Brown’s future.
  • The Sixers won’t stand in the way of any assistant who gets a head coaching opportunity, Brand told Pompey in the same story. They granted permission yesterday for Monty Williams to interview for the open job with the Lakers, where he and Tyronn Lue appear to be the top candidates. “We respect that, the chance to have more responsibility and be a head coach,” Brand said. “For anyone on our staff to have a deeper role, we will honor that. We don’t want dysfunction, we don’t want distractions, but it is what it is.”
  • Lindsey Harding was promoted this week to player development coach, the team announced on its website. She joined the organization prior to this season as a pro personnel scout.