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Reports: Sixers management can't decide if they want to fire Brett Brown

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He will be the head coach of the Sixers, unless he isn't.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Pick apart Sam Hinkie's tenure all you want, but it was nice having the logic of the team's decision-making process remain mostly in-house. It appears "a new era" has dawned in more ways than one, and telegraphing your intentions to any media member who will listen appears to be part of the agenda.

Here I was, set to throw up a quick post on a report by CBS' Ken Berger, who claims the coaching market will dictate Brett Brown's job security:

There are always surprises in the NBA's offseason game of coaching musical chairs, and league sources say Philadelphia and Memphis are two situations to watch closely.

There's a new sheriff in the City of Brotherly Love, Bryan Colangelo, who obviously did not hire Brett Brown; the departed Sam Hinkie did. And 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.

This is fascinating on its own; if Berger is taken at his word, Bryan (and presumedly Jerry) Colangelo would only feel moved to fire Brown if D'Antoni is in danger of leaving. That would appear to be at odds with ownership, who seemingly have run out of knives to backstab employees with.

Wait, a wild Tom Moore report appears! From the Bucks County Courier-Times (bold emphasis mine):

"I don't think anybody survives, (except) maybe some low-level analytics people," the source said. "I'm not sure the scouts make it."

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.

Another NBA source said, "I think the chances are good (Brown is the coach to start next season)," though "if things go really bad, maybe (Bryan Colangelo would) make a change in the middle of the year."

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. The extension was announced at a new conference with former GM Sam Hinkie and Brown four days later.

The framing is different, but the same wishy-washy attitude is afoot here. Nothing says, "We believe in you Brett!" like allowing him to stay on but having it set in your mind he shouldn't make it through the next season.

As the cherry on top, Bryan made an appearance on Comcast morning program Breakfast on Broad, and definitively stated Brown would be the coach moving forward (h/t to Derek Bodner for transcription):

'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.'

Let's recap here:

  1. The Sixers might fire Brown if D'Antoni gets job offers elsewhere
  2. The Sixers are 50/50 on firing Brown this offseason, but there's a 20 percent chance he doesn't make it through next year if they do retain him
  3. Bryan Colangelo claims there's no question he remains as head coach
It shouldn't be surprising after how badly they bungled the Hinkie situation, but this is a clusterfuck of the highest order.

If keeping D'Antoni's coaching around is such a top priority, maybe you should, I don't know, make him the head coach regardless of what other teams are doing? This doesn't appear to be a situation where a team is afraid to axe their current guy out of fear they won't be able to find a suitable replacement. Instead, it looks as though they're acting like a pimply-preteen, waiting to see what other people think before they decide if something is cool or not. (Pogs will always be cool, if you're asking for our input Bryan)

It's not as if Brown has some sacred record as Sixers frontman that makes him unpalatable to fire. He was a wonderful face for the franchise and kept the team together during a brutal stretch, both of which deserve commendation, but I don't think anybody would be too distraught if he was pushed out the door.

This is the worst type of leadership I could imagine. The logic is inconsistent, the conviction is lacking and the unity of management and ownership appears to be at odds. Having this dynamic present at all is troubling, full stop, but to have it play out in the public is nothing short of a disgrace.

Maybe time will push me to apathy, like when the citizens of Springfield got used to having a giant tire fire raging in their town at all times, but at the rate this is going I sincerely doubt it.