Brett Brown Fired as 76ers HC After Playoff Loss to CelticsAugust 24, 2020
The Brett Brown era officially came to an end Monday, with Philadelphia 76ers firing their head coach after seven seasons.
General manager Elton Brand thanked Brown for his contributions in a statement:
"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. 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. This will be an important offseason for us as we look to get back on track towards our goal of competing for an NBA championship."
Brown reflected on his tenure with the club in a statement:
Brown's dismissal may just be the start of things to come in Philadelphia, however. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the 76ers may restructure their front office, though Brand is expected to remain with the team:
Brown managed to stick with the 76ers despite a horrid three-year stretch from 2013-16 in which they went 47-199 at the beginning of "The Process."
After years of patience with Brown, the Sixers were rewarded with playoff berths in each of the past three seasons. Their 52 wins in 2017-18 were the team's most since reaching the NBA Finals in 2000-01 (56-26).
With high expectations going into the 2018-19 campaign, Philadelphia's front office went all-in to win by acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Because the 76ers loaded their roster with talent, the pressure was on Brown to deliver in the playoffs. They won one postseason series in each of the past two seasons, but things unraveled in the Eastern Conference semifinals both times.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported there were "rumblings in league coaching circles" that Brown would likely be fired if Philadelphia didn't beat the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals.
There were some signs of trouble last year during the regular season. ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported in January 2019 that Butler "aggressively" challenged Brown about his offensive system.
That came after Embiid questioned Brown using him on the perimeter during games, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Butler left to join the Miami Heat as a free agent, leading to the Sixers adding Al Horford and re-signing Harris to a five-year deal to keep their title window open.
Even though the Sixers secured their third straight playoff berth this season, the offense was a problem, ranking in the bottom half of the league in points per game (110.7) and 13th in offensive rating (111.3).
Some extenuating circumstances greatly impacted the Sixers' performance. Ben Simmons missed eight straight games prior to the season being suspended on March 11 because of a back impingement. Embiid sat out 22 contests with various injuries, including a torn ligament in his finger.
Things were further complicated on Aug. 8 when it was announced Simmons had to undergo knee surgery after suffering a subluxation of the left patella that would likely keep him out for the entire postseason, even if the Sixers made a deep run.
Simmons' absence was apparent in the first-round series against the Boston Celtics. Philadelphia suffered its first sweep in the playoffs since 1999.
Because the Sixers have spent big money on this roster to win now, the expectations for everyone in the organization will be put under a microscope following an abrupt postseason exit.
Brown did come from a strong situation as an assistant in San Antonio and made it through a brutal spell in his early days with the Sixers, so he can use those lessons he learned to eventually get another head-coaching gig when he wants one.
For the 76ers, their next head coach will have a lot of work to do, but the pieces are in place to be great right now and in the future.