The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 12, 2013

Report: 76ers finally hire new coach


The Daily Item

— PHILADELPHIA — A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press the Philadelphia 76ers have hired San Antonio assistant Brett Brown to be their coach, ending a four-month search to replace Doug Collins.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the move has not been officially announced.

Collins resigned in April after the Sixers went 34-48. New general manager Sam Hinkie took quite a while looking for a replacement before choosing Brown, who was part of three NBA title teams with San Antonio.

Brown helped lead the Spurs to the NBA Finals last season, where they lost to the Miami Heat in seven games. He, along with new general manager Sam Hinkie, would be at the head of a major rebuilding project with the 76ers, who failed to make the postseason last year and finished in last place in the Atlantic Division, a year after advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Brown, 52, was a part of three NBA title teams with San Antonio.

As Brown negotiated with 76ers executives, including owner Josh Harris, reports circulated of Harris’ potential purchase of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. According to a person close to the negotiations, Harris’ group is the front-runner for the financially struggling franchise, a team that has won three Stanley Cup titles since 1995.

Though a purchase price — near $300 million, the person said — appears to be set, there are still several factors to iron out between Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek and Harris. The person expects the agreement to be in place sometime early next week and be finalized with the league in time for the NHL opener in October.

The deal would create some more interest in the long-running rivalry between the Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers, who play in the same building — the Wells Fargo Center — as Harris’ 76ers. The agreement with the Devils would include operating rights to the Prudential Center in Newark, which opened in 2007 and housed the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012, as well as the NHL Draft in June.

Brown would be a rookie head coach, as opposed to the veteran Collins, who had one year left on his original four-year deal worth $4.5 million. He stepped down after a season so full of promise unraveled starting with the knee injury to center Andrew Bynum. The Sixers went 34-48 and lost Bynum via free agency to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bynum, acquired in a summer trade in 2012, was considered a missing piece to the franchise. But he never played for the Sixers because of bone bruises in both knees. He insisted from training camp he would play, only to shut it down for good March 18. He underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Bynum earned $16.5 million last season.

Collins, a four-time All-Star player for the Sixers, returned to the franchise in 2010 and led Philadelphia to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. A year ago, the Sixers eliminated the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round.