Apr 28, 2010

If Brown Returns, Stefanski Could Be Next To Go

Even before the Charlotte Bobcats were bounced from the NBA playoffs this week there has been ongoing rumors throughout the national and local media that the Sixers have been courting former coach Larry Brown to return to the team as a possible general manager or team president.

Brown has addressed these rumors blatantly and openly. "I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael Jordan... if he wants me".

Notice did not mention team president

Brown will be turning 70 this year and still has two years left on his current contract with the Bobcats, the team he coached to their first ever playoff appearance this season. Despite the comments from Brown many insiders have reported that his return in not just speculation but an almost guarantee.

Brown was the Sixers head coach for six season and had an 255-205 (.557) record. The team missed the playoffs only once in his tenure and went to the 2001 NBA finals, where they fell to the Lakers in five games. Brown has coached in New York and Detroit since he left the Sixers and signed with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2008.

Bobcats majority owner Michael Jordan has told the media that he has given Brown permission to speak with teams about other opportunities as long as they are for either general manager or president of basketball operations.

Despite all of this talk team president Ed Snyder has called all of the talk between Brown and the team as "total, unadulterated bull.

With all this speculation about new coaches and the possibility of Larry Brown returning to the team in some fashion it is important to think about the one man left out of this mix, general manager Ed Stefanski. Stefanski has been on the hot seat ever since the firing of Eddie Jordan and with the way the season ended all of these rumors could mean the end of his tenure with the Sixers.

Stefanski preached to the media last summer about how Jordan's Princeton offense was the perfect fit for the young Sixers team and how the team would flourish but Jordan failed to lead the team in any way and was removed on April 15th, just one day after the final game of the season. The team finished 27-55, second to last to the 12 win Nets in the Atlantic Division and ever since Jordan;s firing speculation has flied about Stefanski's upcoming dismissal.

Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski has reported the Brown has been offered the position as team president/director of basketball operations and is already looking at setting up his front office and coaching staff. In the report Brown has been courting Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson to take over the job of coaching the young Sixers team.

The report also states that Stefaski's days may be numbered with the Sixers as Brown may be interested in Washington Wizards executive Milt Newton to come in as general manager. Both Newton and Woodson have extensive experience with young teams and have experience giving teams a fresh start.

Woodson is in the final year of his contract with Atlanta and has been a very public negotiating process with Atlanta gm Billy Knight about signing a long term extension but the team. Knight has stated the team wants to wait till the off-season to negotiate with the coach. Woodson has been open with the media about how he feels disrespected in not getting an extension and could be the catalyst in his departure from a team that he has returned to post season play.

Woodson would be a great fit for the Sixers as he excels with young talent and would inherit a team just as he did in Atlanta with no real sense of direction and without veteran leadership.

If Brown takes over as president of the team it will take a lot of the day-to-day control away from Comcast Spectacor Chairman Ed Snyder. Snyder has never really embraced the team and has always been more of a public supporter of his other franchise the Philadelphia Flyers. Synder is a hockey man and has never been strong with personnel hiring.

Brown could give the organization what they need and that is a basketball guy running the show who has a history of success in the NBA and mutual respect from most NBA front offices.

With the talk of Brown coming in to take over its looking like Ed Stefanski is firmly in the hot seat. Only time will tell if Stefanski gets the axe but if all the rumors are true the upcoming changing of the guard might be just what this team needs to return to a credible franchise in the NBA.


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