Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind during an abysmal 2013-14 campaign. That candid stance continued when he addressed the upcoming NBA offseason and looming free agency.
“No free agent is going to want to come to Philadelphia at this stage,” Brown said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. “Why would a good free agent want to come in and be a part of a rebuild?”
It’s impossible to fault the first-year head coach for providing an honest assessment of free agency, especially given Philly’s current state of affairs.
After the Sixers’ 12th-straight loss—a Feb. 26 defeat at the hands of the lowly Orlando Magic—Brown ripped into 20-year-old guard Tony Wroten by saying, “'You’ve been AAU, and that’s not a good thing,'” according to Christopher Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times.
When the losing streak climbed to 14 in a row, Brown admitted that he wonders “all the time” whether his team will win another game before season’s end, per The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Marc Narducci.
In case you haven’t been following (and I wouldn't blame you), Philadelphia still hasn’t put a W on the schedule since Jan. 29 against the Boston Celtics. By dropping a 120-98 road game against the Houston Rockets on March 27, the 76ers tied an NBA record with 26 straight losses, per Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver.
The Sixers do have a good amount of young talent by way of Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and Wroten, but they’re more than a few tweaks away from competing for a playoff spot even in the weaker Eastern Conference. As a result, Brown is stressing player advancement over free-agent acquisitions.
“We are about development. Once the alignment with development collides with a bunch of other things in the program, then you can start talking about free agents,” he said, per Pompey.
Fortunately, the Sixers will have two first-round picks in the 2014 draft—their own pick in addition to a top-five protected selection from the New Orleans Pelicans that was added via the Jrue Holiday trade.
The start of Brown’s tenure in Philadelphia has been a stark contrast to his six-year stint as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, but the Sixers have nowhere to go but up.
Coach Brown is no fool. He knows that big-name free agents consider winning when searching for future employment, so it’s best that he preaches patience to the fan base.
After all, it’s not his fault that the front office has created a tanking juggernaut.