Remember those rumors about Brett Brown losing his job?
Nothing to it, according to Sixers managing partner Josh Harris, who spoke to media on Tuesday morning as part of the club’s 2019 exit interviews.
First up, the King, Howard Eskin, who asked about the conversations leading up to the decision to keep Brown for next season.
“I’ll start. A lot has made about this in the press and truthfully you can’t believe what you’re reading or what you’re hearing. Brett’s job was never in jeopardy. We were very focused on the playoffs and yeah we climbed to get into a lot of questions people were asking us, but I have a great relationship with Brett. He’s been our coach for six years and I’ve talked with him constantly throughout the playoffs, including last night, in terms of planning for the future. We have been and continue to be excited that Brett is leading us.”
Eskin: Didn’t you allude to a comment that the team didn’t move further than last year, things had to change?
Harris: Never said that. I talked about us all, Elton, Brett, the front office and everyone being disappointed, and how that would be a problem for us all. But we’re all in this together, we never were laying this at Brett’s feet. He’s done a great job.
What Howard is referencing is Harris’ March quote at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, when the Sixers’ owner was asked if anything less than a deep playoff run would be an issue for him.
“It would be problematic. Very problematic. It would not be what we’re playing for. We’d be unhappy. I’d be unhappy. The city would be unhappy. We’re going to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have enough talent on our roster that if we play the way we’re capable of playing, we can beat any team in the East.”
Harris didn’t specifically mention Brown’s job security at the conference. He then spoke before the Brooklyn playoff series, saying this about Brett:
“We have a lot of confidence in Brett. We’re focused on the Nets.”
Harris reiterated his desire for a “deep playoff run,” but did not define what a “deep playoff run” would amount to.
Today several people followed up with Brett questions for the Sixers’ owner.
David Murphy asked the following –
If there was no decision to make, why come out on Monday night and affirm that Brett would return? That led to this answer and exchange:
Harris: Brett is our leader going forward and he’s been our coach for the last six years. There was a ton of speculation about this and that. We were really focused on the playoffs. Once it ended it made sense to just put it all to rest and move on.
Keith Pompey: Did you ever address with Brett that his job wasn’t in jeopardy?
Harris: Brett and I talk all the time. We had a lot of conversations about the playoffs and we were always in a good place.
Pompey: Did you tell him his job wasn’t in jeopardy?
Harris: I had a lot of conversations with Brett that put us in a good place.
Marcus Hayes asked about Sixers players endorsing Brett Brown, and whether that was a result of uncertainty surrounding his job:
Harris: Brett and I had numerous conversations. Brett really was not coaching for his job in the Toronto series or otherwise. You can ask him. I think obviously there was a lot of noise in the press, probably kicked up by our competitors? Who knows. But I think there was a lot of comfort that we were all in this together and focused on the playoffs. I think we made a good decision not to respond to all the rumors and innuendo, incorrect facts out there. We always respect the opinions of our players and it was good to hear they were on board for it. It was an emotional moment, so I’m glad they came out in support of our coach. It’s great.
So there you have it. Brett is speaking in a few minutes, and if he says anything interesting I’ll update this story.