2020 Playoffs: First Round | Celtics vs. Sixers

Sixers GM not looking to trade Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

Elton Brand says he wants to 'complement' his All-Star tandem better

The Philadelphia 76ers are seeking a new coach after firing Brett Brown on Monday. What they aren’t seeking, per GM Elton Brand, is a new nucleus to build their team around.

Brand spoke with the media on Tuesday and made it clear he is not looking to trade away All-Star center Joel Embiid or All-Star guard Ben Simmons.

“I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel. I’m trying to compliment them,” Brand said. “They’re 24 and 26 and want to be here. You try to make that fit as long as possible.”

As for the successor to Brown, Brand said the search for a new coach begins immediately.

“We’ll begin a search for a new coach immediately and will examine the rest of the front office and the roster,” Brand said. “I owe it to our fans to deliver on our goal. I still believe in our young core.”

Brand also plans to talk with Simmons and Embiid about what moves could potentially help the team.

“I’m going to talk with Joel and Ben, about the game and how they see it, where they felt we were weak and strong in our play,” Brand said.

The 76ers were 43-30 this season and had woefully underachieved in a season when they were expected to be serious contenders in the Eastern Conference.

After the sixth-seeded Sixers were swept by the Boston Celtics, the firing of Brown was expected.

“I have a tremendous level of respect for Brett both personally and professionally and appreciate all he’s done for the 76ers organization and the city of Philadelphia,” Brand said in a statement Monday. “He did many positive things during his time here, developing young talent and helping position our team for three straight postseason appearances. Unfortunately, we fell well short of our goals this year and I believe it is best to go in a new direction.”

Brown won only 47 games in his first three seasons, including a 10-72 record in 2015-16, as the Sixers maneuvered through “The Process” of rebuilding their team.

The philosophy paid off when Philly drafted Embiid (in 2014) and Simmons (in 2016), who would both become All-Stars and lead the Sixers to two straight trips to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Both were solid this season, with Embiid averaging 23 points, 11.6 rebounds, three assists and 1.3 blocks per game and Simmons chipping in with 19.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 8.0 apg and 2.1 steals per game.

Simmons missed the postseason with a knee injury and neither Embiid nor the players brought in in recent years could provide enough scoring in clutch situations against Boston.

The 76ers have $28.8 million to Simmons and $29.5 million to Embiid committed for next season. In addition, the Sixers have committed $27.5 million to Al Horford and a whopping $34.4 million to forward Tobias Harris, too. Horford and Embiid never meshed to the point where Horford was benched at times in the regular season and playoffs and became a scapegoat for Philly’s woes.

“My goal and my focus is to continue to get this team over the hump to truly contend. And that’s my marching orders,” Brand said Tuesday. “The financial realities of the world, I understand them, but my goal is to keep this team relevant and find a way to win.”

Philadelphia added Horford in the offseason via free agency and re-signed Harris after the team pushed the eventual-champion Toronto Raptors to a Game 7 in the 2019 Eastern Conference semifinals. After Philadelphia’s overall flat showing in the 2020 playoffs, though, it seems changes of some kind are ahead for the Sixers.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.