Following the Boston Celtics’ sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, it was believed to be only a matter of time before the latter moved on from their head coach, Brett Brown.
That time is approaching.
According to The Athletics’ Shams Charania, the Sixers are “expected” to fire Brown, who will be the sacrificial lamb of a front office that has taken on bad contracts while making plenty of questionable moves after emerging from “The Process” as Eastern Conference contenders.
Brown has helped steer the Sixers through some of their darkest days over a seven-year tenure that included the abysmal 10-72 finish in 2015-16.
But the arrivals of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons helped turn the tide in Philadelphia and in just two years, the Sixers went from embarrassment to playoffs. The postseason success, however, was fleeting as Brown and his Sixers never advanced past the second round.
Usually, when it comes down to young star players and the head coach on an underperforming team, the head coach gets shown the door. Philadelphia will remain committed to Embiid and Simmons, even though there has been plenty of speculation of how the two perform together, and even general manager Elton Brand, who likely will have a sizable say in the team’s next bench boss.
The Sixers have already been linked to a number of potential head coaches to take over for Brown once he’s officially out.
Amongst the most notable names is Villanova head coach Jay Wright, who is continuously linked to NBA jobs despite his stated desire to continue within the collegiate ranks.
Wright was most recently connected to the New York Knicks’ job back in February after they parted ways with David Fizdale. But that was almost immediately shot down by ESPN’s Dana O’Neil, who continued to say that the 76ers should also abandon such a dream, too.
The 58-year-old has spent the past 19 seasons at Villanova following a successful seven-year stint at Hofstra University on Long Island. He’s won a pair of national championships over the last five years, which has only catapulted his status as a potential NBA coach.
But with Wright likely not going anywhere, will set their sights elsewhere, with immediate candidates emerging in the likes of Ty Lue, Ime Udoka, and Dave Joerger.
Lue is a championship-winning coach, having won the 2018 title with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after taking over for David Blatt. He is currently serving as an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Udoka, 43, has seen his stock rise in recent years after seven seasons as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs. He joined the Sixers’ staff under Brown in 2019 and recently interviewed for the Knicks’ head-coaching vacancy this summer, which was won by Tom Thibodeau.
As for Joerger, he spent six seasons as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies — where he went to the playoffs in each of his three seasons — and Sacramento Kings.