Seven years is a long time to coach an NBA team. And when there is nothing to show for during a stint that long, changes eventually become inevitable. For the last seven seasons, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown did a decent job -- but over the last couple of years, decent simply isn't going to cut it.
At this point, we know the Sixers have moved on from Brown. On Tuesday, Sixers General Manager Elton Brand explained that the primary reason behind moving on from Brown was because the Sixers "underperformed" during a make or break season for the seven-year head coach.
While Brand's decision to move on from Brown was difficult, the second-year GM revealed that when he took over the job back in 2018, Brown made one thing clear to him. If he ever loses the locker room's attention, Brown wanted Elton Brand to let him know and make the call on his future with the organization. On Tuesday, Brand detailed the conversation he had with Brown two years back.
"I talked to Brett directly about this," Brand explained. "As I made my transition to General Manager, he stated, 'hey, If I ever lose the room if I ever lose my voice, I want you to let me know. I want you to be the one to fire me and have the team move on.'"
Coaches typically know when their message no longer resonates with the team, but some might stick around in denial. Brett Brown, on the other hand, didn't want to force his message and be blind to the situation. While he's still respected within the Sixers' organization, it seems his message began to grow stale in Philly.
"The way it works is, you know you have the same terminology, you have the same buttons, you have the same words that you use over and over again," Brand explained from a coach's perspective. "If you're not successful and if you don't win, [the terminology] falls short in [the players'] minds."
"Now if you're a championship coach and you get over the hump, which I wish that Brett could have, you have longer leeway with the players to stand up, and they think 'this guy has done it -- he has won.' [They think] 'you know, I'm sick of him yelling at me, or I'm getting tired of whatever he's doing, but he's won.' So I think that's where it gets to the point you need a new voice and a new perspective."
In seven seasons, Brown has coached three playoff teams. During the 2018 and 2019 playoffs, the 76ers fell short by losing in the second round of both series. This year, however, Brown and the Sixers failed to overcome the Boston Celtics in round one.
All year long, the Sixers struggled with consistency and accountability on the team, which made it evident to Brand and the front office that Brown was no longer getting the best from his players on a nightly basis. Now, the Sixers will conduct a search to find a coach who can restore a winning mentality within Philly's locker room.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_