Basketball

Sixers managing partner Josh Harris: Brett Brown’s job ‘was never in jeopardy’

One month after being noncommittal about bringing back coach Brett Brown, 76ers managing partner Josh Harris said Tuesday morning that the coach's job was never on the line.

Harris told ESPN on Monday night that Brown would be back next season. Tuesday, seated next to general manager Elton Brand at their end-of-season press conference, Harris said, "A lot's been made about this in the press, and truthfully, you can't believe what you read or what you are hearing. Brett's job was never in jeopardy.

"We were very focused on the playoff, and we declined to get into a lot of questions people were asking us."

On April 13, Harris was given an opportunity to endorse Brown, but was noncommittal before a 111-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs.

Harris had stated that it would be a problem if the Sixers didn't do well in the postseason. So he was asked to clarify that statement, and if Brown would be his coach next season no matter what happened in the playoffs.

The managing partner said Tuesday he has been constantly in contact with Brown, including Monday night.

"We have been and continue to be excited that Brett is leading us," Harris said.

However, Harris was asked why he felt the need to come out late Monday to confirm that Brown was coming back next season. He also was asked why he hadn't done it sooner.

"Brett is our leader going forward and he's our coach for the past years," Harris said. "There was a ton of speculation about this. We were really focused on the playoffs. Once the playoffs ended, it made sense to put it all to rest and move on."

He said the Sixers are always evaluating everything they are doing and "none of us are perfect."

Harris was asked twice if he had told Brown that his job wasn't in jeopardy when all the speculation was going on. He initially didn't give a direct answer.

"I had a lot of conversations with Brett that put us in a good place," Harris said.

However, several minutes later, Harris said Brown knew through the Toronto series that his job was not in jeopardy.

Monday, Sixers players expressed their support for Brown after their exit interviews with the coach at the team's practice facility in Camden.

It was thought that Brown would have to reach the Eastern Conference finals to keep his job. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Sixers, 92-90, in Game 7 of the semifinals Sunday night in Toronto. Kawhi Leonard's 21-foot, fadeaway jumper at the buzzer that bounced four times on the rim before dropping through the net ended the Sixers' playoff hopes.

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