Is a return to the San Antonio Spurs a possibility for Brett Brown?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 8: Head coach Brett Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers shakes hands with head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs after a game (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 8: Head coach Brett Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers shakes hands with head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs after a game (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

No one wants him taking over head coaching duties, but the San Antonio Spurs would benefit from having the recently-fired Brett Brown back on their bench.

For a team with such high expectations, the Philadelphia 76ers truly crumbled over the course of their season. That was a team that traveled horribly, overpaid for tertiary options and couldn’t prioritize their stars right. The first course of action as their offseason began was to fire head coach Brett Brown, which could actually bode well for the San Antonio Spurs.

Before taking the job in Philly, Brown was an assistant in the River City. He joined the team in 2002 in a player development role before being promoted to assistant coach in 2007. Brown and head coach Gregg Popovich developed a strong friendship that remains important to each of them today. However, Brown took the gig with Philly back in 2013 after the Spurs lost the NBA Finals, passing up a chance to succeed Mike Budenholzer as the lead assistant in San Antonio.

If this is Brett Brown’ last game in Philly, let me say this: he got that franchise through the lowest, worst years a pro team could endure, & did so professionally. If this group no longer responds to him, that’s the life of an NBA coach. Seven years is a LONG time in one place.

— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) August 23, 2020

There are no hard feelings as these relationships remain solid to this day. However, Brown is currently out of work and the Spurs are in a transitional period. If he can’t find a new head coaching gig, which he plausibly could considering his skill set, then it might be beneficial for Brown to spend a year back on the Spurs’ bench in a player development role.

The head coaching jobs around the league are quite interesting at this point. New Orleans is well-run with an exciting roster, Brooklyn offers the chance to build a contender and Chicago has a lot of young talent for a rebuilding team. However, there’s competition for those positions and the only landing spot that makes sense, for the time being, is Chicago.

Brett Brown is a good dude who stood out front for an organization during endless turmoil. Things didn’t go the way he or anyone wanted, but he deserves thanks and respect

— Jawn Gonzalez (@JohnGonzalez) August 24, 2020

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Instead of settling for a job, Brown could spend a season back with the Spurs doing what he does best — Player development. That’s the role that Spurs Sport & Entertainment CEO R.C. Buford hired him for many years ago and it’s a great way to keep engaged with a team without having to tackle all of the responsibilities that come with leading the charge.

San Antonio’s trio of assistant coaches — Hammon, Duncan and Hardy — are a great group for the Spurs to build with. However, they’re each relatively young for the job and having a veteran coach like Brown to hang around adds depth to one of the most dynamic coaching units in basketball.

Let’s be clear: Brown should not be considered for the Spurs’ head coaching job in any capacity. His actual in-game coaching style isn’t nearly as efficient as his development style. Brown is a great coach to teach players the ropes and help them get better, but his X’s and O’s need a lot of work, which is a large part of why the Sixers got swept by Boston.

Next. The case for Becky Hammon to succeed Popovich

However, Brown is a capable and smart basketball mind. Bringing him back in an assistant capacity is a great way to bolster the Spurs’ coaching staff.