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Plenty of questions surround the Philadelphia 76ers after the amazing shot from Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard bounced them from the playoffs Sunday.
Namely, who will be the Sixers’ coach next season?
“The club can respond to that,” Brett Brown told reporters.
There have been rumors the Sixers needed to advance to at least the Eastern Conference finals for Brown to keep the job. Where general manager Elton Brand would turn next, well, that’s anyone guess.
Brown is liked by young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, so a coaching change could be risky. But this is the NBA, and risks tend to be the name of the game.
Then there’s free agency. Embiid and Simmons are the future, but Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris are big reasons for the here and now. Both are unrestricted free agents. Same goes for shooting guard J.J. Redick.
So there’s a chance the Sixers could be down three starters and have a new head coach next season. That scenario is unlikely, but there’s a chance.
“I am not worried about any of that right now,” Butler said about free agency. “We just got done losing. I don’t want to talk about anything else but basketball.”
Simmons was a little more open.
“We haven’t been together for a while with this group, but it’s got a lot of potential,” he said. “The guys that we have brought over — Tobias, Jimmy, everybody, Boban (Marjanovic), Mike (Scott), James (Ennis). Just everybody that we have now, we grew a lot in the last few months of being together.”
Will it continue?
Right now, no one can get a feel for what the Sixers, Butler or Harris are thinking in terms of next season. But as Butler mentioned, there will be time enough for that.
Without a doubt, this roster will not be exactly the same as it was this season. At the very least, the bench will have some new faces. And the Sixers seem ready to move on from Redick.
But different doesn’t mean worse.
Re-signing Butler and Harris will be the most-important steps (especially Butler). Finding another veteran scorer off the bench wouldn’t hurt. Keeping the core together and building off what really was a nice run may be the best plan of all.
It may hurt now, but the Sixers should enter the summer knowing they were among the best teams in the East. Truth is, a couple of the right moves could make them the lone true beast.