The Sixers have offered their coaching job to Spurs assistant Brett Brown, according to multiple reports.
Yahoo! Sports and NBA.com both report that Philadelphia, the only NBA team without a coach in place for next season, has entered contract negotiations with Brown, who has served on Gregg Popovich's bench since 2006.
Sam Hinkie, hired as Sixers general manager in May, has delivered on his promise of a deliberate coaching search. Brown's name first surfaced as a candidate for the position in June. The New York Daily News reported at the time that Brown would indeed be Philadelphia's choice, although Hinkie denied it and the search continued. Yahoo! Sports reported Monday that Sixers ownership was set to interview four finalists, including Brown, this week. In June, Brown also interviewed for the Nuggets' coaching position that eventually went to Brian Shaw.
Brown, 52, joined the Spurs in 2002 as the organization's director of player development, and San Antonio has won three titles since. Before making the jump to the NBA, Brown spent 14 years coaching in Australia's National Basketball League. He was named Australia's national team coach in 2009 and guided it during the 2012 London Olympics. The Maine native played college basketball at Boston University.
“He’s a special guy,” Popovich said of Brown in May, according to the San Antonio Express-News. “We all know him as a lifer basketball guy who lives and breathes the game. He’s an idea guy daily, just bubbling over and we all know that about him. But he’s also a wonderful, humor-filled person who is filled with kindness.”
If he leaves San Antonio for Philadelphia, Brown would be trading a veteran-dominated powerhouse that came within 5.2 seconds of winning the 2013 Finals for one of the weakest rosters in the NBA. Philadelphia traded All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for the sixth pick in the June draft, Nerlens Noel, who is rehabilitating from knee surgery. The Sixers also allowed supposed franchise center Andrew Bynum to leave for the Cavaliers in free agency.
If hired, Brown would become the second Spurs assistant to get a head-coaching job this offseason, joining Mike Budenholzer, who was hired by the Hawks. The San Antonio Express-News reports that Brown was in line to take Budenholzer's position as Popovich's lead assistant this season. In total, 13 teams made coaching changes this offseason. Brown would mark the ninth first-time head coach, joining Budenholzer, Shaw, Steve Clifford (Bobcats), Dave Joerger (Grizzlies), Michael Malone (Kings), Brad Stevens (Celtics), Jeff Hornacek (Suns) and Jason Kidd (Nets).