Embiid says idea of firing 76ers' Brown is 'B.S.'

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid defended coach Brett Brown on Monday amid speculation that the coach's job is at risk because of the team's second-round exit from the playoffs.

Embiid called the idea that Brown might be fired "bulls---," saying, "He's done a fantastic job. He's been there through everything.

"This year I think he grew even more as a coach. He learned, we all learned.

"At the end of the day, it comes down to the players. I don't think he should have anything to worry about. He's an amazing coach, a better person. ... If there was someone to blame, I mean, put it all on me."

Before the playoffs, team owner Josh Harris said he expected the 76ers to at least reach the East finals. And at a news conference before the playoffs, Harris refused to say whether Brown would return and offered only a lukewarm endorsement of the coach's performance.

Brown has coached the 76ers for six seasons, including a 10-win season in 2015-16, and has been championed by ownership and the front office for having patience through what former general manager Sam Hinkie dubbed "The Process." But the Sixers -- who rebuilt their roster with two blockbuster trades -- had higher expectations this season.

Brown's players have often expressed their admiration and confidence in the coach.

"What he's done for this organization is nothing short of remarkable,'' 76ers guard JJ Redick said Monday. "I would just say this in general, for any NBA team, when you think about a coach, and potentially replacing that coach, you have to consider what coaches are available. I don't feel it necessary to defend Brett to anyone. I think his work speaks for itself.''

The decision on Brown is a crucial one for first-year general manager Elton Brand, who also has to decide how to handle the team's free agents.

Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and Redick are headed into free agency, with a max contract likely looming for Butler.

"I haven't thought about it too much,'' Butler said Monday. "I've got to sit down and really talk to my team.''

Harris, a trade-deadline pickup from the LA Clippers, can also command a max deal from the Sixers. The Sixers are already on the hook for the $121 million left on Embiid's deal, and Ben Simmons is a year out from earning a max-level extension.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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