Brett Brown

Western Notes: George, Holmes, Fernando, Dinwiddie, Kleber, Popovich

Clippers star forward Paul George missed Monday’s game against Utah due to a right hamstring tendon strain, according to Law Murray of The Athletic.

It’s a different injury than the one the team cited when George sat out the second half of Saturday’s game against San Antonio. The reason given that night was right knee soreness.

George will be reevaluated in the next couple of days.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Richaun Holmes has fallen out of the Kings’ rotation and it may be difficult to move his contract, James Ham of The Kings Beat notes. Holmes is owed $11.2MM this season, $12MM next season and has a player option for $12.9MM in 2024/25.
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas is optimistic Bruno Fernando can return to action later this week, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Fernando has only appeared in two games this season due to left knee soreness.
  • Mavericks coach Jason Kidd expressed hope that Spencer Dinwiddie and Maxi Kleber will be available during the team’s upcoming road trip, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes. Dinwiddie dislocated his left shoulder against Denver on Sunday, while Kleber hasn’t played since Tuesday due to a lower back contusion.
  • Gregg Popovich didn’t coach the Spurs on Sunday after meeting with the press prior to the game. Brett Brown filled in after Popovich felt ill, but doctors who examined him in the locker room pronounced him OK, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

Sixers Notes: Defense, Bench, Embiid, Brown

The Sixers thought their offseason moves would make them a title contender, but they haven’t looked the part through the first week of the season, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. After opening with losses to the Celtics and Bucks, Philadelphia dropped to 0-3 on Saturday by falling at home to the rebuilding Spurs.

“I’m happy that we are going through this right now,” said James Harden, who admits that “everything” needs to be addressed. “We don’t have fool’s gold. We got to work through it. We gotta figure it out on both ends. Realistically, it’s a good thing for us.”

The most obvious issues have been on defense, which the Sixers focused on upgrading this summer. Pompey cites a lack of intensity on that end of the court and an inability to stay in front of wing players. Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson and Doug McDermott all had big games Saturday as the Spurs shot 48.3% from the field, including 42.1% on three-pointers.

“We do have to give them credit. They made tough shots,” Tobias Harris said. “But on our part, that’s not the standard of defense that we hold ourselves to.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers aren’t getting enough production from their bench, Pompey adds. Their reserves were outscored by San Antonio’s, 40-10, with Georges Niang contributing eight of those points. Montrezl Harrell, De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House and Matisse Thybulle shot a combined 1-of-6. Pompey notes that Thybulle gives the team a stronger defensive presence, but he has barely been used so far this season.
  • Joel Embiid dealt with plantar fasciitis this summer that affected his ability to train, tweets Sixers reporter Derek Bodner. Embiid said it began to affect him during team workouts in July, and it reached a point where he couldn’t walk. “Coming into training camp I hadn’t done anything in like two months, so it really slowed me down,” he said. “Still trying to work my way back and hopefully everything goes back to normal.”
  • Former Sixers coach Brett Brown was back in Philadelphia on Saturday for the first time since getting fired in 2020, Pompey adds in a separate story. After being out of the NBA for two years, Brown rejoined the Spurs’ coaching staff in June. “He meant a lot,” Embiid said. “Obviously, he started the whole thing and things didn’t work out the way they should have. But he did a great job and he’s one of the reasons why we’re in this position.”

Spurs Notes: Point Guard, B. Brown, C. Brown, Bill

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t know who the team’s starting point guard will be yet after trading All-Star Dejounte Murray to Atlanta this offseason, but he knows that making up for Murray’s production will be very difficult, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.

We have to find somebody who is going to score those points and make those assists,” Popovich said. “He was also a heck of a rebounder at his position. So there is a lot we have to fill in with him not being here.”

According to McDonald, third-year guard Tre Jones, a more traditional point guard, could be one option. Jones’ $1.8MM contract is only partially guaranteed for $500K at the moment, but becomes fully guaranteed on October 18. He realizes there’s a “big opportunity,” but he’s focused on doing what he does best — leading and distributing.

We’ll just have to see how camp goes,” said Jones. “I am going to try to take on that role of being a leader for this group, continue to do everything I was doing – set up our team, set up guys in the right spot and let the rest take care of itself.”

Another option could be Joshua Primo, last year’s lottery pick. Primo doesn’t think he’s set in any one position, per McDonald.

Honestly, I still feel like a position-less player,” Primo said. “I have always been a position-less player … I don’t think I am ever going to stop that, but whatever Pop needs me to do out there, I am going to do.”

Here’s more from San Antonio:

  • The Spurs are excited to have Brett Brown back on the coaching staff, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Brown won four championships with the organization in various roles prior to becoming Philadelphia’s head coach for seven years. “Since ’99, we have shared basketball thoughts,” Popovich said of his close friendship with Brown. “To have that back is very meaningful for me. It comes at the right time. As a friend, his personality, his sense of humor, he is just a fantastic human being. And so, when you can combine those personal traits with the basketball skills and knowledge he has, it’s wonderful to have him back.”
  • San Antonio’s G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, have acquired the returning player rights of Chaundee Brown from the South Bay Lakers (Twitter link). Austin gave up its 2023 NBAGL first-rounder and the returning rights to Galen Robinson Jr. in the deal. Brown was briefly signed to two-way deals with the Lakers and Hawks as a rookie last season, and inked a 10-day hardship deal with Atlanta last winter. He was waived by the Hawks a few weeks ago.
  • Congressman Tony Gonzales has introduced a bill to prevent the Spurs from moving amid future relocation concerns, per Benjamin Wermund of The Express-News. The Spurs are playing a couple of games in Austin this season and Austin-based billionaire Michael Dell bought a 10 percent stake in the franchise last year, notes Wermund. “No one would ever imagine the Spurs would leave San Antonio, but what if they do?” Gonzales said. “Sometimes when we say it takes an act of Congress, sometimes we have to take that seriously.”

Brett Brown Returns To Spurs As Assistant

Brett Brown has returned to the Spurs as an assistant coach, the team announced in a press release.

Brown was on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio for 11 seasons from 2002-13, first as the club’s director of player development, then as an assistant coach.

“I’m thrilled to be able to hire such a good coach, human being and dinner partner,” Popovich said.

Brown left San Antonio to become the head coach with the Sixers. He patrolled Philadelphia’s sidelines through the 2019/20 season.

Brown joins Mitch Johnson and Matt Nielsen on Popovich’s staff. Given that Popovich is 73, it’s fair to wonder if Brown will emerge as a candidate to eventually replace Popovich when he retires.

Spurs Notes: Murray, Rebuild, Popovich, Collins, Brown

The Spurs were motivated to trade Dejounte Murray because the agent for the All-Star guard informed the team that he wouldn’t agree to a contract extension, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link, hat tip to Bleacher Report). Murray wasn’t unhappy with his current contract, which runs for two more seasons, Windhorst adds, but recognized he’d have to reach free agency to get a significant raise.

“And that wasn’t really necessarily about the Spurs,” Windhorst said. “His contract is about $16 million on average. When you extend your contract, you’re limited into how much of a raise you can get. And it would’ve been probably below his market value as a 25-year-old All-Star. But he pretty much told them — he’s like, ‘I’m probably not going to extend next summer either.'”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • The three picks and a future draft swap that the Spurs received from Atlanta in return for Murray will pave the way for a full-scale rebuild that the organization was reluctant to do after losing Kawhi Leonard, observes John Hollinger of The Athletic. San Antonio will likely bottom out this season in advance of a strong draft that features French center Victor Wembanyama at the top. Hollinger also notes that the team will have plenty of cap room, both to take on unwanted contracts this season and to potentially offer two max deals next summer.
  • The Murray trade isn’t a sign that head coach Gregg Popovich won’t return next season, according to Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News, who says Popovich approved the deal. With the playoffs seemingly out of reach, Popovich can focus on teaching and player development.
  • The Spurs had internal discussions about taking back John Collins from the Hawks, but they decided the draft equity was more valuable for the future of the franchise, Finger tweets.
  • Former Sixers head coach Brett Brown is expected to rejoin Popovich’s staff as an assistant, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link). Brown was an assistant in San Antonio from 2007-13 before becoming the head coach in Philadelphia.

Southwest Notes: Doncic, Porzingis, Spurs, Grizzlies, Rockets

Asked by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith during an appearance on First Take about rumors that there has been some friction between Mavericks teammates Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, head coach Jason Kidd dismissed the idea that there are any issues between the team’s two leading scorers (video link).

“I think we all heard in the NBA circle that there was tension between the two, but I would have to say that’s fake news,” Kidd told Smith. “… There were some other issues that I thought they did a great job of keeping in-house that had nothing to do with those two.

“I’m excited, I think the relationship between the two of them is at a high level. They’re basketball players who want to compete and who want to win. For a coach, I have to put them in that position to be successful. But I think their relationship is great.”

Smith didn’t press Kidd on what those “other issues” in Dallas were that didn’t involve Doncic or Porzingis, but it’s possible the Mavs’ new head coach is referring to some of the conflicts that were outlined in a report from The Athletic back in June. Presumably, given the way the front office and coaching staff were overhauled this summer, the franchise believes those issues are in the rear-view now.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

Brett Brown Steps Down As Australia’s Head Coach

After losing his NBA position earlier this year, former Sixers head coach Brett Brown has now elected to step down from his international coaching job as well. Brown has resigned from his role as Australia’s head coach and won’t lead the Boomers at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, the program announced today in a press release.

“Whilst I have a deep and long-standing passion for Australian Basketball, I am currently unable to commit to coaching the Boomers at next year’s Olympic Games,” Brown said in a statement. “The uncertainties around the direction of my professional future unfortunately mean that I cannot commit to the time and preparation that this job deserves and requires. The difficulties around traveling internationally with my family during the pandemic have also contributed to my decision.”

Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter said in a statement that the program is “naturally disappointed” that Brown will no longer be coaching the team, but understands his decision.

Brown initially finalized a deal to coach the Australian national team last November, after the club had clinched a spot in the Tokyo Olympics with its fourth-place finish at the 2019 World Cup. Those Olympics had originally been scheduled to begin on July 24, 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the new start date for the Tokyo games is July 23, 2021.

Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, and Patty Mills are among the notable players expected to represent Australia in Japan next summer, as long as they’re able to work around the revamped NBA schedule. The selection of Brown as the Boomers’ head coach led to speculation that Sixers star Ben Simmons may elect to participate as well — it’s not clear if Brown’s resignation will influence Simmons’ decision one way or the other.

Western Notes: Powell, Bazemore, Holiday, Brown, Timberwolves

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, who is signed through the 2022/23 season, is showing good progress as he rehabs from a torn right Achilles, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports. Powell, who underwent surgery in January, has no movement limitations. However, the closure of the Mavericks practice facility has created an obstacle to get on-court time. It typically takes an NBA player a year or more to return to action from an Achilles tear but the delayed start of next season should work in his favor.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors could consider adding one of their former players,  the Kings’ Kent Bazemore or the Pacers’ Justin Holiday, in free agency, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Poole breaks down the pros and cons of both players and concludes Holiday would be a better fit, since he has proven more durable in recent years. However, it’s also likely he’d cost more than Bazemore, Poole adds.
  • It’s unclear if former Sixers coach Brett Brown is a candidate for the Thunder’s opening but there is a strong connection to the front office, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes. Brown worked with GM Sam Presti in the Spurs organization from 2002-07.
  • The Timberwolves mini-camp facilitated Jarrett Culver‘s development and Josh Okogie‘s playmaking skills, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. It also reinforced the value of forward Jake Layman, though he suffered a broken nose during the workouts.

Sixers Fire Head Coach Brett Brown

The Sixers have parted ways with head coach Brett Brown, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The move, which has been confirmed in a press release by the club, had been anticipated in the wake of Philadelphia’s quick, disappointing postseason exit.

According to Wojnarowski, Brown’s ouster is expected to be the first of multiple changes within the organization. The 76ers’ senior leadership will likely explore an upheaval of the front office structure, sources tell ESPN. Amidst those looming changes, general manager Elton Brand is expected to continue overseeing basketball operations, Woj notes.

Brown, 59, was hired as the Sixers’ head coach in 2013 by former head of basketball operations Sam Hinkie. His teams over the next four seasons posted a dismal 75-253 record (.229), but the franchise was focused on gathering assets during those years rather than on-court results. With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons establishing themselves as stars, Philadelphia compiled a 146-91 mark (.616) during Brown’s last three seasons.

Brown kept his job even as Hinkie was replaced in the front office by Bryan Colangelo, who was in turn replaced by Brand. However, the team’s underwhelming results in the postseason in recent years and Brown’s inability to fully unlock the potential of the Embiid/Simmons pairing led to the end of his tenure in Philadelphia.

“I have a tremendous level of respect for Brett both personally and professionally and appreciate all he’s done for the 76ers organization and the City of Philadelphia,” Brand said today in a statement. “He did many positive things during his time here, developing young talent and helping position our team for three straight postseason appearances. Unfortunately, we fell well short of our goals this year and I believe it is best to go in a new direction.”

Brown reportedly had his ups and downs in 2018/19 with former Sixers swingman Jimmy Butler. During the ’19/20 season, Al Horford expressed frustration about not having a defined role communicated to him, and some people in the locker room have questioned Brown’s handling of rookie Matisse Thybulle, as we relayed earlier today. Josh Richardson also expressed on Sunday that “more accountability” is necessary within the organization going forward.

There was a sense within the Sixers that, after seven seasons, they had gone as far as they could with Brown, according to Wojnarowski, who reports that the head coach expected to be let go unless the team made a deep playoff run.

For what it’s worth, Brown said after Sunday’s loss that he felt as if he never got to show his full potential as a coach, due in large part to frequent injuries over the years. Both Embiid and Simmons have battled health issues in recent years.

There’s still a “strong desire” to keep those two All-Stars together, according to Woj, who says the Sixers intend to let a new coaching staff attempt to maximize Embiid’s and Simmons’ potential before considering the idea of a trade.

Brown still had two years remaining on his contract with the 76ers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Considered Unlikely To Retain Brett Brown

Following a quick playoff exit, the Sixers are widely expected to part ways with head coach Brett Brown, according to multiple reports.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Brown, who has two years remaining on his contract, has no “internal momentum” to return for another season; Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports wrote that the anticipation within coaching circles is that the Sixers will part with Brown in the coming days; and Shams Charania of The Athletic cited multiple sources with knowledge of the situation in reporting that the 76ers are expected to make a coaching change.

Sources tell Haynes that Brown “never grabbed full command” of the locker room during his time as the Sixers’ head coach. As Haynes details, Al Horford expressed frustration earlier this season about not having a defined role communicated to him, and some people in the locker room have questioned Brown’s handling of rookie Matisse Thybulle, who has seen his minutes fluctuate drastically at times. Josh Richardson also expressed on Sunday that “more accountability” is necessary going forward, per Sacha Pisani of Sporting News.

“I don’t think there was much accountability this season and I think that was part of our problem,” Richardson said. “… (When) guys are not doing their job on or off the court, there’s got to be some kind of consequence — not consequence, but we’ve got to be able to talk to each other and listen. And not (just) listen to say something back, but actually hear (each other). It’s a hard lesson to learn for some people, but in order for us to make this playoff run that I think we all want, I know we all want, it’s got to start.”

Until the Sixers officially make a decision on Brown, it’s probably too early to identify frontrunners for the job. But Charania hears from sources that Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, former Kings coach Dave Joerger, and Villanova coach Jay Wright are among the names to watch.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • There’s an expectation that the 76ers remain committed to the Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons duo and plan to let the next head coach figure out how to maximize the two stars, according to Shams Charania. Within his preview of Philadelphia’s offseason, Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) explains why he thinks it makes sense for the team to keep both Embiid and Simmons.
  • While Brown figures to be dismissed, he’s not the reason the Sixers have come up short in recent postseasons, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, who assigns more of the blame to the team’s front office. Charania suggests that no front office shake-up is imminent though, writing that GM Elton Brand has maintained a healthy relationship with team ownership.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN passes along some of Brown’s post-game comments from Sunday, while Brian Windhorst of ESPN does the same for Embiid. As Bontemps details, Brown told reporters that he feels as if he never got a chance to show his full potential as a coach due to the injuries that plagued the Sixers over the years.
  • According to Chris Haynes, the 76ers were prepared to offer Jimmy Butler a maximum-salary contract in the summer of 2019 if he agreed not to take any recruiting visits. However, Butler – who was “lukewarm” on the idea of re-signing with Philadelphia – didn’t agree to that condition. Haynes adds that Brown didn’t love how “outspoken” Butler was with his coaching tactics.