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Report: 76ers might fire Brett Brown, promote Mike D’Antoni

Not only did a report say Brett Brown’s job was safe with the 76ers, new general manager Bryan Colangelo put strong thoughts on the record.

Colangelo, via Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

“I said, ‘If it was merely for the sake of what he’s gone through and what he’s been through, he deserves a chance to see this through,’” Colangelo said. “What I’ve observed and what I’ve been impressed with, is a guy that is passionate about what he does, he seems to have a great idea and sense for the game. His team, from an analytics standpoint, actually plays the right way, they just haven’t played well, in that regard.”

Then Colangelo doubled down.

Colangelo on CSN Philly, as transcribed by Derek Bodner of Philadelphia Magazine:

“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.

But not everyone is convinced – with assistant Mike D’Antoni, who has been linked to the Suns and Wizards, the potential wedge issue.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports:
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.

Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times:

The source called it “50-50" that Brown is the head coach to start the 2016-17 campaign, but believes there’s only a 20 percent chance Brown finishes next season in that capacity.

The source expects associate head coach Mike D’Antoni, who was hired by ex-Sixers chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo in December, to succeed Brown.

The first source said Jerry Colangelo, who stepped down as chairman the day Bryan was hired and is now a special adviser to managing owner Josh Harris, didn’t like it when he found out Brown’s two-year extension was a done deal upon joining the franchise Dec. 7.

Brown’s extension won’t save his job (unless the 76ers owners are that cheap). It might just get him more money on the way out the door, which isn’t a terrible parting gift.

Brown has done a nice job teaching the young 76ers. Can he coach a team trying to win? Don’t know. He hasn’t had the opportunity.

I generally believe he deserves the chance in Philadelphia, but deserve has only so much to do with it. If the Colangelos believe D’Antoni is the best man for the job, they should dump Brown and elevate Colangelo. They shouldn’t lose someone they deem a better coach just to give Brown a turn. This isn’t little league.

The ideal strategy might be testing Brown while keeping D’Antoni in reserve. But D’Antoni could force the issue by getting a head-coaching offer. Plus, having the next coach assisting the current coach can undermine the current coach.

It might be hard for Bryan to walk back his public statements, but Philadelphia needs the best coach it can get – whether that’s Brown, D’Antoni or someone else. Getting the optimal coach would far outweigh a few hurt feelings now.