Brett Brown returning as Philadelphia 76ers head coach for 2019-20 season
SportsPulse: Although tanking may have been a good strategy in the past, the odds don’t really favor bad teams in the new NBA draft lottery format. USA TODAY Sports
The speculation surrounding Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown’s immediate future is over.
Brown will be returning to the team for the 2019-20 season, the Sixers confirmed Monday night. One day after the Sixers lost to the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, managing partner Josh Harris told ESPN that Brown would be back.
The Sixers will hold a press conference with Harris and general manager Elton Brand on Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET, followed by Brown’s presser at 10 a.m.
It was reported in the run-up to Sunday’s Game 7 that Brown could be fired if the 76ers failed to advance. They did not move on, losing in the second round for the second consecutive year thanks to Kawhi Leonard’s historic buzzer-beater.
But Brown will be back with the team after all, with ESPN reporting the coach was removed from limbo following a "lengthy meeting" Monday between Brown, Harris and Brand where the team’s offseason plans were discussed.
More: What’s next for 76ers? Will Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris stay?
Amid reports that Brown’s job was in jeopardy, Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid gave his full-fledged support of Brown at Monday’s exit interviews.
“I heard about all these rumors, and I thought it was (expletive)," Embiid said. "He’s done a fantastic job. He’s been there through everything and this year, I think he grew even more as a coach. It’s hard when you’ve got five guys who can score the ball and do a lot of things on the basketball court. At the end of the day, it comes down to the players. He’s an amazing coach, a better person, and I got a lot of love for him. If there is someone to blame, put it all on me."
Brown took over as coach of the Sixers in 2013 and guided the team through difficult seasons while trying to establish a culture of hard work and player development. In his first three seasons — the bulk of "The Process," rebuilding effort launched by former GM Sam Hinkie — the Sixers won just 47 games. But they compiled draft picks, acquired talent and Brown saw it through.
In six seasons, Brown — a former Spurs assistant under Gregg Popovich — has gone 178-314. But Philadelphia won 52 games last season and 51 games this season.
The starting lineup Brown had for these playoffs — Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris — played just 10 games together during the regular season. The Sixers acquired Butler and Harris via in-season trades.
Now, the Sixers can focus on roster decisions. Butler, Harris and Redick, among other Sixers, will be free agents this summer. While the future of those players remains a mystery, the team removed at least one question mark with the retention of Brown.