Jerry Colangelo hired Mike D’Antoni as the 76ers’ associate head coach, and Bryan Colangelo reportedly held interest in promoting D’Antoni to supplant Brett Brown as head coach. Instead, D’Antoni got the Rockets job, and the Colangelos kept Brown, whom they inherited from Sam Hinkie.
But the Colangelos weren’t apparently D’Antoni-or-bust. They had another coach in mind to replace Brown.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN, as transcribed by NBC Sports Philadelphia:
Brett Brown was never Bryan Colangelo’s coach or Jerry Colangelo’s coach. And when they came in, when Jerry Colangelo took over, he put Mike D’Antoni on Brett Brown’s staff. Mike D’Antoni wasn’t put there just to be an assistant coach. Their plan, their hope was, eventually Mike D’Antoni would be the head coach. But Mike D’Antoni got the Houston Rockets’ job. And even through the great progress they made this year, getting to the second round of the playoffs, winning 50-plus regular season games, there was always a thought in the Colangelos’ mind that they’d get their own guy in there. And the guy they had always targeted, I’m told, was Jay Wright at Villanova. But they underestimated how popular Brett Brown was with the fans, ownership and the players. And the spirit with which Brown carries himself has permeated that organization.
Wright is a good coach who would seemingly translate well to the NBA, and maybe staying in Philadelphia would’ve appealed to him. But the 76ers obviously never lured him.
Brown eventually got that extension, and he’s now running Philadelphia’s front office on an interim basis.
The 76ers are searching for a more-permanent replacement, and once they find one, Brown will again work for someone who didn’t hire him. But, for now, Philadelphia is much more unified.