Brett Brown brings energy to his new job with the Sixers

Posted: August 16, 2013

As he sat on the dais for his introductory news conference, Brett Brown revealed that he was already hard at work in his new job as coach of the 76ers.

The longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant absorbed endless questions about his leaving an elite franchise to take over one that likely will play for position in the talent-rich 2014 NBA draft. The more Brown talked Wednesday afternoon, the more he revealed his passion about rebuilding the Sixers.

"This is really my first day in Philadelphia," Brown said. "The first thing we did was go to the strength and conditioning coach and put a huge premium on our health and our fitness. We need to establish that part of the program."

Brown, 52, talked about putting the pieces together that are necessary for the team to ultimately join the NBA's elite. He also talked about getting the Sixers out and running on offense even though he's a defensive-minded coach.

"The steps that we need to go through, whatever the result is, are still the same," he said. "The process is still the same."

He has begun the process already. Brown spent two hours at the Sixers' practice facility before the news conference. He discussed everything from knocking down walls to redeploying employees in offices to the things he would do differently.

The new coach was scheduled to spend more time Wednesday evening discussing immediate and long-term plans with general manager Sam Hinkie.

"Brett brings a positive energy that's sort of infectious," Hinkie said. "That became clear to anyone who meets him."

Brown, however, said he was reluctant to leave the Spurs for a team that has diluted its roster, one that is expected to lose about 60 games next season. The native of South Portland, Maine, conceded that he wouldn't be here if not for his four-year, guaranteed contract.

He held an unofficial post with the Spurs during their NBA championship season in 1998-99. Brown rejoined coach Gregg Popovich's San Antonio staff in July 2002 as the director of player development and moved to the bench as an assistant coach before the 2006-07 season. He also coached for 14 seasons in Australia's National Basketball League, nine as a head coach.

Brown has been a part of three NBA championship teams (2002-03, 2004-05, and 2006-07) since his return to San Antonio. Last season's squad lost in seven games to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

"There was [hesitation] at the end of our discussions" about joining the Sixers, said Brown, a first-time NBA head coach. "It became very real, what I was going to be leaving. . . . This is what I have had. And now are you prepared to leave with your family and the stability?"

Brown said he ultimately decided to accept the Sixers' offer because he appreciates the commitment that Hinkie and the ownership group share.

One of his next orders of business is assembling a coaching staff. He hopes to have one in place by early September.

It is unknown if he'll retain assistants Michael Curry, Aaron McKie, and Jeff Capel, who are all under contract for another year.

Hinkie has already spoken to Curry and McKie about their status with the Sixers.

"I've told them the truth, which is everyone is open-minded," Hinkie said, "and everyone will sort of think about all of the possibilities and will make some decisions.

"I don't think it will be long. Everyone is anxious to get going, and those decisions will be what they are."

On Wednesday, it might have been hard to find someone more anxious about the Sixers' future than Brown.

He even used words such as scary, pain, dangerous, tolerance, and patience at times to explain the team's rebuilding process.

But Brown is convinced that he made the right decision in accepting the job.

"Can you imagine if we can get this thing right?" he said. "If we can get this right with the culture and the history that this city has and the pride and the toughness that this city has, that is very alluring. It's tempting. . . . I think this is a very high calculated chance."

Sixers cut Holiday. The Sixers waived Justin Holiday on Tuesday. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in nine games after he was called up from the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League on April 1.

Holiday is the older brother of all-star point guard Jrue Holiday, who was traded by the Sixers to New Orleans on draft night.


Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers.

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