Childhood Sixers fan and Saint Joseph’s product Charlie Brown Jr. has earned a longer look with his hometown team.
The Sixers announced Tuesday that they’ve signed Brown to a two-way contract and waived rookie wing Aaron Henry.
Brown, a 24-year-old Philadelphia native, played two games with the Sixers under a 10-day hardship exception deal that he signed last Monday. Myles Powell and Brown are the team’s current pair of two-way players, who can split time between the Sixers and the Delaware Blue Coats.
Brown shined in a win last Friday over the Spurs, showcasing speed, athleticism and defensive talent in his 12 minutes. Asked why he’d included Brown in his rotation, head coach Doc Rivers admitted it wasn’t a decision he’d had much time to consider.
“I don’t even know, honestly,” he said. “Yesterday they worked out and we watched them. But they were working out against our coaches, so all of them looked good. We should’ve played them all, if you go by that.
“But Charlie, just his length, his athleticism … and really talking to (Blue Coats head coach) Coby Karl and (Delaware assistant) JP Clark, they just kept saying, ‘Watch his athleticism. He gets his hands on everything. You’ll really like him.’ We put him in at that time. We needed defense, so that was probably the reason.”
Brown also appeared in Rivers’ rotation Monday against the Rockets, recording two steals in a blowout win.
It appears he’ll have a touch more stability now after playing for four NBA teams and three G League franchises since going undrafted in 2019. In addition to the Blue Coats, Brown spent time this season with the Mavericks on another hardship contract.
“Some people might say it’s tough, but I love to do it,” Brown said last Friday. “Anytime I’m available to play basketball or anything to better me and my situation, I’m going to do it 100 percent. So I’m enjoying the journey.”
The Sixers on Tuesday assigned 10-day hardship signee Braxton Key and rookie Jaden Springer to the Blue Coats. Springer had an unfortunate stretch beginning in December when he was sidelined following a concussion, then out because of health and safety protocols. He missed the Houston game with a non-COVID illness.
The team’s injury report ahead of Wednesday’s home matchup with the Hornets featured zero players in health and safety protocols. Tyrese Maxey and Paul Reed, who’d recently missed time because of COVID-19 protocols, were not listed.
Shake Milton (back contusion) and Ben Simmons (personal reasons) remain out. Seth Curry (left ankle soreness) was listed as questionable and Tobias Harris was probable with right shoulder pain.
Even if it looks unlikely that regular minutes will be available to Brown this year on a healthier version of the Sixers, he should have a chance to settle in with a team he’s loved for a long time.
“My agent called … and I was kind of shocked,” he said of hearing the Sixers were signing him to a hardship contract. “I never knew I’d be able to play for my home team. It’s all love. I’m blessed to be here. I’m blessed to be with these guys and grow.”