The Philadelphia 76ers are parting ways with Brett Brown, reportedly firing their head coach following an ugly Game 4 loss to the Boston Celtics sent them home from the NBA Playoffs in a sweep.
Brown, who had been on the hot seat since last season, was expected to be fired barring the 76ers going on a deep run in the playoffs. Instead, without star Ben Simmons, Philadelphia was swiftly sent home in four games by the Celtics.
76ers fire Brett Brown after another disappointing playoff exit
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers have fired head coach Brett Brown after seven seasons in Philadelphia.
When general manager Elton Brand wouldn’t commit to Brown during the regular season, it was clear that he was on thin ice. Despite making the playoffs for the third consecutive season, this time as a No. 6 seed, the front office and ownership had enough.
The 76ers hired Brown as their head coach in 2013. He served as a coach in Australia’s National Basketball League from 2000-’02, before joining the San Antonio Spurs as a director of player development and an assistant.
A four-time NBA champion as an assistant in San Antonio, the 76ers hoped Brown’s experience would translate when he became a head coach. After helping the team through four seasons of their rebuild, the 76ers finally made it back to the playoffs. Following three straight years of disappointment and a 221-344 record in the regular season, the 76ers are now moving on.
The 76ers plan to keep Brand at the helm with stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid unlikely to be traded.
With Brown now out of the picture, the 76ers head into a crucial offseason with some top candidates to choose from to become their next head coach.
Ime Edoka, Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach
If the 76ers had fired Brown during the regular season, Udoka would have stepped in the team’s interim coach. The 43-year-old has been a target in coaching searches before, interviewing for the Toronto Raptors gig in 2018 and he received interest from the New York Knicks this year.
Udoka is a defensive-minded coach with a deep background in basketball. He spent a majority of his playing days as an NBA journeyman, but impressed Gregg Popovich during his time in San Antonio. After retiring, Udoka served as an assistant on San Antonio’s staff from 2012-’19, before joining the 76ers this season.
Finding a head coach that knows Joel Embiid could be crucial, but the 76ers will face competition for Udoka this offseason. He could be an ideal candidate for the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans. Udoka will get an interview and he could be a great hire.
Tyronn Lue, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach
Lue is going to be one of the most coveted coaches in the NBA this offseason. He’s an ideal fit for the New Orleans Pelicans, is Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s preferred choice and will receive interest from the Chicago Bulls.
We know Lue can win with talent, he proved it in Cleveland with LeBron James. A 211-128 record with three trips to the NBA Finals and one ring makes for an incredible impressive resume, no matter if LeBron did the heavy lifting.
After spending a year under Doc Rivers, Lue is poised to get his own team this winter. If the 76ers are willing to make it happen, Lue could be the guy to take this team to the next level.
Becky Hammon, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach
Hammon’s shot is coming and it’s only a matter of time before she becomes the first woman to be a full-time NBA head coach. The 43-year-old is a WNBA icon and has been learning from Popovich since 2014.
She interviewed with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2018 to become their general manager. Hammon is respected around the league and she has a strong endorsement from Popovich. While there’s always some risk in hiring someone without head coaching experience, it can be better than bringing in a retread.
Dave Joerger, former Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies coach
It’s not always wise to hire a head coach who has been fired twice. However, it’s a different story given the teams that fired Joerger are two of the worst-run organizations in the NBA.
Around the NBA, many rave about Joerger’s creativity, work ethic and mind. He won 50-plus games in each of his first two seasons with the Grizzlies before his relationship with executives went south. He also made the Kings, who haven’t made the playoffs in 14 years, look like a team on the rise in 2018-’19. While the Kings ultimately fired him, that reflects on former general manager Vlade Divac.
Joerger proved in Sacramento that he can form a strong, working relationship with DeMarcus Cousins. If he can do that, life with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons should be far easier. While his name isn’t hot on the rumor mill right now, we think the third time will be the charm for Joerger and Philadelphia could be the right landing spot.
Kenny Atkinson, former Brooklyn Nets head coach
It’s important to throw the record out when examining Atkinson’s resume. When the Nets hired him to become their head coach, the former assistant to Mike Budenholzer was brought in to help oversee young players’ development.
Brooklyn won 48 total games in Atkinson’s first two seasons, but he had little talent to work with. Things started coming together in 2018-’19 and the Nets won 42 games that year and made the playoffs with Atkinson finishing fifth for the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award.
Season-ending injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, along with the stars’ desires for their hand-picked coach, led to Atkinson being let go this year. However, he is coveted this offseason. A brilliant mind credited with helping shape a team’s culture, he could be the perfect guy to turn things around in Philly.