Friday , Mar , 09 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Cheeks to return as Sixers coach next season

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – The Philadelphia 76ers announced Maurice
Cheeks will return as the head coach of the team next season, ending
speculation that Larry Brown’s presence may lead the Hall of Famer to return
to the helm of the team he led to the NBA Finals.

Sixers general manager Billy King made the announcement prior to the Sixers’
108-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the team’s sixth consecutive victory.

“I’m very happy about that,” Sixers forward Kyle Korver said. “All the stuff
that went down early in the season, all the stuff that’s turned around – if
you’re going to dish out credit – you’ve got to start with him. This team
could have easily put their heads down and been like, ‘Well, let’s get a good
draft pick and build for next year. ‘He didn’t let us. I’m happy, and I think
everyone in this locker room is happy. He’s had our back, and we’ve got his
back – it’s a good thing.”

Cheeks, who also coached four seasons in Portland, compiled a 38-44 record
last year in Philadelphia. The Sixers are 24-38 this season.

“He’s just a fun guy to play for,” Korver said. “He listens to you – your
input matters. In this league, that doesn’t happen very often. That can be
abused, and that can also flourish – and I think we’ve seen both of that here
this year. Right now, we have a team that’s young and that listens. As long as
we stay that way, I think his approach to coaching is great for us. He’s such
a positive person; he’s just a good guy.”

Brown returned to the Sixers in January as executive vice president. Since
then, his role has been to assist King and the front office and staff in
personnel decisions in addition to other special projects.

Brown coached the 76ers from 1997-2003 — his longest tenure with one club
over his well traveled career — and guided the franchise to a 255-205 record,
including five playoff appearances and the 2001 NBA Finals, when they fell to
the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.

PHI