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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Sixers are clearing out their lockers Monday after a devastating buzzer beater by Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard eliminated them from the playoffs. Speculation over the security of Brett Brown’s head coaching position has been brewing in Philadelphia and players expressed their love for him and his coaching tactics during end-of-season press conferences.
“I just thought it was bullshit,” Joel Embiid said. “He’s done a fantastic job. He’s been there through everything and then this year I think he grew even more as a coach. He learned, we all learned. It’s hard when you got five guys that can score the ball and do a lot of things on the basketball court. I don’t think he should have anything to worry about. He’s an amazing coach and even better person. Obviously, I got a lot of love for him. If there was someone to blame, put it all on me.”
Mike Scott says he felt playing in Philly gave a “jolt” back to his career and Brett Brown played a role.
“I love being coached by Brett,” Scott said. “He was always down to earth, kept it real, didn’t sugarcoat it.”
“He did everything he could to really try and help this group come together in the best way possible with the time that was at hand, overall I thought it was good,” Tobias Harris said.
Ben Simmons also commented on playing under Brett Brown.
“He’s helped me get to a place in my game where I feel comfortable,” Simmons said. “I got a lot of confidence playing the point guard. Most coaches probably wouldn’t have done that, and I’m grateful for that. I try to take that opportunity and make the most of it. I got a lot of love for Coach Brown.”
Embiid says selflessness played a major role in the team’s playoff run.
“I think we had a goal and we figured out we had a chance to accomplish it and everybody was all in,” Embiid said. “Everybody had to give up something to make it happen. We all did. And we have some unfinished business hopefully everything goes right and we get right back to where we left.”
While the chemistry is there, the future of the team’s roster is unclear considering 10 players are free agents, including Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick.
“I think what hurts more than the loss is the fact that we had a great group of guys that was riding for one another. It was special,” Butler explained. “We enjoying playing with each other. You couldn’t mess with anyone on the team because someone else was always going to be there in your face. But, you know to think this roster may not be the exact same next year, that’s what really hurts.”
It’s no secret that Sixers fans want the organization to offer Butler a max contract this offseason, but for Butler, making sure his whole crew is happy will play an important role with his decision in free agency.
“I haven’t thought about it too much. I mean I got to sit down and really talk to my team. I like the team here with the organization, but I have so many guys that sacrificed so much to make sure I could play at a high level, I want to make sure their families are happy just like I’m happy. I think if they’re happy, I’m happy.”
Redick is entering free agency for the third consecutive season and while his future is unclear, he’s made it known he’d like to stay.
“Obviously, I’d love to be back. I haven’t tried to hide that at all,” Redick said. “I’d love to be back with the Sixers. I’d love to finish my career here and all that.”
Redick says he is mature enough to recognize that there are other players at the top of the Sixers’ priority list.
Harris says he hasn’t really thought about free agency since the Game 7 loss last night but when the time comes, it’ll be a decision he makes with his representatives.
To view more end-of-season press conferences, click here.