Brown set to take over Boomers Olympic job

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is reportedly set to coach Australia at the Olympics.
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is reportedly set to coach Australia at the Olympics.

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown can thank outgoing Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis for a second chance at an Olympic basketball medal.

Brown will steer the Boomers into Tokyo 2020 as Basketball Australia look to maximise the potential of their talent-laden line-up and finally crack some Olympic silverware.

Lemanis was contracted until after the Games but saw the writing on the wall and decided to walk away, reaching out to Brown to put the change in motion.

The American was in charge of the London campaign, when the Boomers were eliminated by the powerhouse USA team in the quarter-finals.

His strong link with NBA All-Star Ben Simmons and hot prospect Jonah Bolden, who he coaches at the 76ers - and Lemanis' strained relationship with the duo - is behind the coaching switch.

The young pair both controversially dropped out of the Lemanis-coached Boomers' recent World Cup campaign in which the team once again fell short of a medal.

Simmons, who recently signed a five-year $US169.6 million ($A250 million) contract extension, has a rocky history with Lemanis.

In 2014 Lemanis decided not to include a then 18-year-old Simmons in the Boomers' 2014 World Cup team, telling reporters "he wasn't ready yet".

Simmons then tweeted he was "'really disappointed" he was a late cut from the squad.

Simmons has since repeatedly skipped Australian squad duties, including the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Brown refused to comment late on Tuesday on the Olympics job.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer after 76ers practice.

"It's stuff that I prefer not to talk right now about. Fair question, though."

ESPN, quoting NBA sources, reported earlier that "Australia is finalising an agreement" with Brown, who held the role for the 2012 London Olympics.

BA have dragged their heels on the confirmation after originally planning an announcement for next week.

BA's only public response on Wednesday was: "Basketball Australia would like to advise that at this time, no comment will be made in relation to the speculation surrounding the Australian Boomers."

It is a major turnaround for Brown who told AAP in January he does not "have any desire because of time more than anything" to coach the Boomers.

Given Australia have already qualified for the Games, the role wouldn't impact heavily on his NBA job.

Lemanis, coach of the NBL's Brisbane Bullets, has been the Boomers' coach since 2013 but despite squads featuring NBA players Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova, has failed to go better than a fourth-place result.

Brown began his coaching career in Australia's NBL in 1988 before moving to the US in 2003 where he assisted current USA national coach Gregg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs.

He took the 76ers' head coaching position in 2013 and, after initial dismal seasons, turned the team into an NBA power.

While Lemanis didn't claim a major international medal during his six-year Boomers tenure, his team-first approach was popular with many of the senior players.

He led them to the 2017 Asia Cup title, 2013 and 2015 Oceania Championships and a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Australian Associated Press