Brett Brown's job is safe. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer was first to report such on Thursday morning. From conversations I've had with several people around the organization, it's clear managing partners Joshua Harris and David Blitzer, if not the entire ownership group, admire his passion, proven player development abilities and keen interest in sports science. The Sixers business operations loves Brown as well. He makes regular appearances on the Sixers' sales floor. He signed a hardhat that serves as an award amongst ticket representatives who have "done the dirty work" each week.
The team doubled down on its belief in Brown with a two-year contract extension through 2018-19 in December. The Sixers relied on Brown to be the lone franchise spokesman during Jahlil Okafor's early-season tailspin. Even though Harris and Blitzer were at PCOM during today's practice, they let Brown's be the only voice once again to discuss a crucial development in the fate of the franchise.
All that is encouraging for Brown, for the fans who have cherished his contagious boyish passion and charming "Bostralian" accent. But make no mistake: Brett Brown is merely safe for now. After all, he's compiled nearly 200 losses through his first three seasons, albeit while piloting a historically barren roster. His head coaching resume provides zero proof he will be able to successfully lead a legitimate NBA roster, despite the blessing of Gregg Popovich.
Recent NBA history proves head coaches hired before general managers are more often than not ticking towards expiration.
Pete D'Alessandro didn't hire Mike Malone in Sacramento. George Karl was then hired before Vlade Divac, and that marriage seems destined for an imminent divorce. Danny Ferry arrived in Atlanta and fired Larry Drew to hire Mike Budenholzer. Bob Myers fired Mark Jackson a year after taking over as GM. And when tenured management's expectations suddenly change, the coach is usually scapegoated. Tom Thibedeau in Chicago. David Blatt in Cleveland. Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix.
It's impossible to ignore the fact neither Jerry nor Bryan Colangelo hired Brown. It will only be natural for the father-son brain trust to yearn for their own head coach at even the slightest notion of Brown's deficiencies next season, if he even lasts that long. While I've admired Brown as much as the next guy, the Colangelos seeking their own head coaching hire makes sense.
Mike D'Antoni's shadow looms larger than it did when he was initially hired in January. Bryan hired D'Antoni in Phoenix in 2002 as an assistant coach and then promoted him to the head job in 2003 after firing Frank Johnson. It's an extremely relevant precedent.
Of course, those Suns teams experienced tremendous success and D'Antoni is now credited as the godfather of the fast-paced style that has permeated throughout the league and inspired Steve Kerr's offensive scheme in Golden State. It's a style Sixers ownership has already entrusted Brown to coach. The fact D'Antoni's already on the staff would make it a nearly seamless transition to boot. The pool of free agent, former head coaches is also arguably deeper than it has ever been in recent memory, perhaps in all of NBA history.
I hope Brown isn't another casualty of the Colangelos' Philadelphia takeover. It does appear his job remains secure for the time being. Just keep in mind we thought the same about Sam Hinkie.