May 30, 2016
There was mutual interest between P.J. Carlesimo, who turns 67 on Monday, and the Sixers when it came to replacing Mike D’Antoni as associate head coach. Carlesimo had crossed paths with both head coach Brett Brown in San Antonio and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo in Toronto.
The Sixers wanted Carlesimo, but in the end, the Scranton native didn’t want to coach because of how the demands of the job would affect his family life.
"He was a natural fit for me, and for family reasons, he just couldn't do it," Brown said after Monday's pre-draft workouts. "We
talked a lot, and it was an emotional thing from P.J.'s perspective.
P.J. is a very close friend of mine and he made that decision for family
reasons and I understand it."
In addition to the six years they worked together with the Spurs, Brown played against Carlesimo, then the coach of Wagner, when he was the point guard at Boston University for Rick Pitino.
"The phone call [from Carlesimo] really didn't surprise me knowing what I know and how he views his family, having to travel across the country all the time."
Where will the Sixers turn to next? If Brown was looking for familiarity, associate head coach Chad Iske might be an option after getting let go by the Kings. Iske spent two years on the Sixers’ bench working under Brown.
Brown didn't get into any specific names on Monday, but he did emphasize that in looking to fill the position, experience won't automatically trump the ability to develop the Sixers' younger players.
"I know this: We are still in complete development mode," Brown said. "We still have a bunch of 20-year-olds, guys that could be with us for a long time but they're not old."
"We still need people that can teach, coach, and establish relationships. And so if you tick boxes on [the aforementioned characteristics], those still rule the day. If you can do that with some veteran wisdom and some type of experiences like Mike [D'Antoni] or P.J., well then you're really knocking it out of the park."
Remember the awesome Tiger Woods commercial where Woods bounces the ball on his iron for 20 seconds before crushing it out of midair? Well, Ben Simmons didn’t come close to that, but he did manage a decent rainbow into a three-pointer:
If that doesn’t sell you on Simmons’ jumper, I don’t know what will (kidding). As we know, the Sixers already have a frontcourt player that isn’t afraid to play a little futbol:
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann