The Philadelphia 76ers are at a crossroads right now and may try to bring in one of the NBA’s most respected veterans to help solve their woes.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported Wednesday that Sixers front office has seriously debated the idea of chasing Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul. The 35-year-old Paul is under contract for next season with a player option for 2021-22. Thus, Philadelphia would have to trade for him.
Though aging, Paul is coming off a very productive season. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game and led a young Thunder team to a surprise playoff appearance despite low expectations.
It is unclear how Paul’s ball-dominant style might fit next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. But Simmons switched positions before his recent injury. In any event, Paul would be a tremendous get for both his basketball skills and his winning mentality.
Lue has an NBA title to his name with the Cavaliers. He took over that contender mid-season and molded them into a title-winning team. The 76ers would be looking for him to do a similar job with their squad.
Wright was named as a possible candidate as soon as Brett Brown was fired. The reasons were clear, and he even touches on some of them. He’s well-known in Philadelphia, and he’s a lifelong fan of the team.
In the end, Wright seems to have come to the same conclusion that a lot of college coaches do. He has a great job at Villanova and is one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport. He’s also a two-time national champion.
The search for a new Philadelphia 76ers coach can begin in earnest after the team fired Brett Brown on Monday.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Sixers will target the likes of Villanova coach Jay Wright and former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue to replace Brown. Current assistant Ime Udoka is also named as a candidate, as is Dave Joerger, who last coached with the Sacramento Kings.
Lue and especially Wright would be big-name replacements for Brown. Lue will be a popular option for other teams during the offseason, and may prefer a different job.
Wright is the most intriguing name. The Villanova coach has a great reputation, and is well known to Philadelphia basketball fans. However, he’s never worked in the NBA before in any capacity. It’s also not clear if he’d leave a comfortable job at Villanova for the risks of the NBA. There’s some thought that he might do it for this job.
The next coach will have a chance at success in Philadelphia. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid still form a good core, and it’s already a playoff team.
The Philadelphia 76ers saw their season end in disappointing fashion on Sunday, and they have wasted no time moving on from head coach Brett Brown.
Brown was fired by the Sixers on Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported. There are expected to be more moves coming within the team’s front office.
Brown’s dismissal is expected to be a precursor for more upheaval with the 76ers, whose senior leadership – including general manager Elton Brand — will begin exploring changes in the front office structure, sources said. https://t.co/iQtX3EGO9t
The Sixers were swept by the Boston Celtics in four games. They barely put up a fight, though not having Ben Simmons for the series didn’t help. Even with Simmons, Philadelphia was inconsistent on offense all season and never really found an identity after sending Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade deal.
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown clashed with Jimmy Butler during the lone season the two spent together. That led many to believe Brown wanted Butler gone, but apparently that was not the case.
The 76ers chose not to re-sign Butler on a max contract last offseason. Instead, they brought in free agent Al Horford and gave Tobias Harris a max deal. The end result was a first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics. In examining what went wrong for the 76ers this season, Bleacher Report’s Yaron Weitzman shared an interesting piece of information — Brown was open to the Sixers re-signing Butler.
Sources told Weitzman that some within the 76ers organization acknowledged last summer that letting Butler walk could backfire. Executive vice president Alex Rucker was asked what the plan would be for closing out playoff games without Butler, as Brown had allowed Butler to play the role of closer. Eventually, Brown informed Philly’s brass that he would be on board with bringing Butler back.
It’s no secret that Butler can be difficult to coach, but he’s a notoriously hard worker who wants to win. Brown may have even hinted recently that he believes Butler could have made a difference this season. It would be tough to argue against that, and it’s possible keeping Butler would have helped Brown keep his job. The coach is reportedly on the verge of being fired.
The Philadelphia 76ers look to be coming to the end of an era, and Joel Embiid is definitely looking back with some regrets.
Embiid seemed to question some of the organization’s roster moves over the past couple seasons after the team’s loss to Boston on Sunday. Embiid suggested that trades for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris might have upset the team’s chemistry.
“I just feel like, a couple years ago, when we made the playoffs for the first time, we had a bunch of great players that were drafted here or either formed in Philly and we had a bunch of guys especially that were in a great situation,” Embiid said, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
“And then we, as you know, we decided to trade a lot of it with the picks and stuff for Jimmy [Butler], Tobias [Harris], and we got a bunch of great players in return. Like I said, it just didn’t happen. We could never find a rhythm this year. It is disappointing. There’s a lot of regrets. I felt like the focus was not always there. And we got to do better; we just got to look at ourselves in the mirror and just do better.”
The Sixers traded the likes of Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and Landry Shamet for Butler and Harris. None are superstars, but all are useful role players.
This only adds to the evidence that something just isn’t right in Philadelphia. It’s likely to cost coach Brett Brown his job. It could also lead to significant changes to the roster, which could even include Embiid.
Joel Embiid isn’t buying talk of structural flaws with the Philadelphia 76ers.
The star center reacted harshly to a question about what the “issue” is with the Sixers after they were swept by the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Embiid called the question “stupid” and said there was no issue, arguing that the team just didn’t play well.
"That's a very stupid question. There's no issue. We good. We just didn't win."
There’s a reason the question was asked. The Sixers spent lots of money to assemble this team, but they still haven’t moved past the Eastern Conference Semifinals. This, an opening round sweep, was their worst performance yet. Plus, even Embiid’s own teammate admitted the team has had chemistry issues.
The Philadelphia 76ers have not shown much fight in their first two playoff games against the Boston Celtics. According to head coach Brett Brown, that may be a product of the team’s locker room makeup.
Following Philadelphia’s 128-101 loss to the Celtics on Thursday night, Brown indicated that the Sixers are lacking a true emotional player.
Brown had to have had Jimmy Butler in mind when he made that remark. Butler is regarded as one of the most intense, hard-working players in the NBA, and the 76ers sent him to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade last offseason.