Report: Mike D’Antoni, Brett Brown on hot seat, depending on playoff performance
Coaches like Mike D’Antoni and Brett Brown will be fighting for their coaching lives in this truncated resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season. The Houston Rockets coach has his team in sixth place in the West while Brown, who has coached the Sixers for the past six seasons, is in a mirror scenario in the East.
D’Antoni is in a dire situation, as he will likely need to take the Rockets deep, perhaps all the way to the NBA Finals, to warrant some grace with the Houston brass. League insiders widely expect the Rockets to part ways with D’Antoni once his contract expires at the end of this season, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
Brown is in a less black-or-white scenario, as he still has money left on his deal. Insiders have a general expectation: Brown will need to succeed in the playoffs to keep his job, but it’s far easier for the franchise to turn on the coach than to move on from stars Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid:
“It depends on the playoffs,” said an Eastern Conference executive. “[Losing in the] first round, Brett is gone for sure. Conference finals? He may get to stay. I think ownership/management is most likely to fire Brett and keep the core together than do anything significant with the roster.”
D’Antoni has already come a game shy of making the NBA Finals, so the expectation in Houston is to finally reach a stage that has eluded the franchise since 1995 when the team won the second of back-to-back titles.
Going a step above and getting to the Eastern Conference Finals might just be enough to keep his job past this season.