Bryan Colangelo: “Brett Brown Is the Coach of This Team”
Whenever there’s a regime change, questions immediately surface about the future of the incumbent head coach.
That’s been no different with the 76ers, as Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers new president of basketball operations, may be tempted to let head coach Brett Brown go in order to promote Mike D’Antoni, who worked with both Jerry and Bryan Colangelo in Phoenix.
“There’s a new sheriff in the City of Brotherly Love, Bryan Colangelo, who obviously did not hire Brett Brown; the departed Sam Hinkie did. And if D’Antoni, the Sixers’ associate head coach, gets offers elsewhere — besides Brooklyn, he could be a fit in Washington or Phoenix — then Colangelo may be tempted to let Brown go and bump D’Antoni up to head coach in order to keep him, sources say. Ownership may have other ideas, remaining firmly supportive of Brown.”
D’Antoni led Phoenix to a 253-136 record in his five seasons with the Suns.
Besides Jerry and Bryan Colangelo, D’Antoni has another supporter in the organization in CEO Scott O’Neil, who was with D’Antoni in New York when O’Neil was the president of Madison Square Garden Sports.
D’Antoni coached the Knicks from the beginning of the 2008 season up until he resigned during the 2011-12 season. He had a 121-167 record in New York.
Bryan Colangelo tried to quell those rumors during his appearance on Breakfast on Broad today.
“I told the ownership Brett Brown is the coach of this basketball team going forward. I left no question [to that],” Colangelo told the Breakfast on Broad team. “Brett Brown deserves the opportunity. He toed the company line for the last three years, he’s done everything this organization needs him to do, he’s been in the community, coaching clinics, coaching kids. He’s a lifer. He’s a basketball guy.
“I think Brett Brown is going to be a big driver in what we do,” Colangelo continued.
Colangelo gave credit to Brown for keeping the team focused through such trying times.
“[Brown] coached these guys to be competitive each night. They may not be competitive for 48 minutes, but they were playing their hearts out. That’s a skill in and of itself,” Colangelo told Breakfast on Broad.
“[Brown] has great basketball expertise, having been in the San Antonio Spurs organization he sees the vision for the way basketball needs to be played,” Colangelo continued. “With successful basketball, in terms of the platform, you have to put talent out there to be able to carry it out. We’re going to give Brett the talent, we’re going to try to put him in a better situation in terms of winning.”
Colangelo acknowledged the chance that Mike D’Antoni could leave this offseason.
“I think Mike D’Antoni might even go away to another job opportunity,” Colangelo said. “There’s speculation on certain jobs in the league and I think Mike’s a perfect candidate for a couple of them, but I hope he’s here because I really think he’s a good basketball coach that can add a lot to what Brett is doing.
“Mike D’Antoni’s a great basketball mind. He’s really offensive-oriented, and I think Brett is more defensive-oriented,” Colangelo explained. “I think it’s a great combination and there’s good chemistry, from what I’ve seen so far.”
Colangelo was less certain when talking about the rest of the basketball operations staff.
“I think that right now more than anything I need to go through this assessment and evaluation phase and understand exactly what we’re dealing with in terms of weaknesses, strength, areas of exposure,” Colangelo told Breakfast on Broad. “I know what winning organizations look like. I’m going to try to make that happen. So when you talk about player personnel, and draft, and other things, I think that you need to really focus on making sure you’ve got coverage, and I need to figure out exactly what the scouts have done, how many scouts there are, what the analysts and the analytics guys are going to tell me, and the process, and how that all comes together.”
All of this sets up what could be an interesting summer of change.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.