The 76ers' search for a coach appears to be wide open, with new leaks about potential candidates being published.

Citing coaching insiders, ESPN reported that the job will go to Brett Brown or Michael Curry.

The report said that Brown, a San Antonio Spurs assistant, will be the last candidate interviewed for the job vacated by Doug Collins on April 18.

About two hours after the June 27 draft, general manager Sam Hinkie denied a New York Daily News report that the Sixers had decided to hire Brown just hours earlier.

The 52-year-old would instantly bring a winning attitude to a struggling organization. He learned from three premiere coaches on three levels - his father, Bob Brown; Rick Pitino; and Gregg Popovich.

Brett Brown joined Popovich's San Antonio staff in July 2002 as an assistant coach/director of player development. He moved to the bench as an assistant coach before the start of the 2006-07 season.

The Spurs have won three NBA titles during his tenure. They just missed out on a fourth, losing in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat in June.

Brown played for Pitino at Boston University from 1980 to '83 and was the team's most valuable player in 1981. In high school, Brown played at South Portland (Maine) for his father, a New England Basketball Hall of Fame coach. Bob Brown went on to become an assistant coach at Boston University while Brett Brown played there.

Brown's seasons as the director of player development in San Antonio would be a huge benefit for a youthful Sixers squad. While they have huge upsides, rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel also have huge bust potential. So the next coach must be a good developer of talent.

Brown had a hand in the development of NBA all-star point guard Tony Parker, whose scoring average went from 9.2 points to 15.5 points during the first season he worked with Brown.

Curry, who is widely respected in the league, would be considered a safe pick because of his familiarity with the team. He spent the last three seasons as Collins' associate head coach and is under contract for another year.

Curry, 44, is also the only candidate with NBA head coaching experience. He led the Detroit Pistons to a 39-43 record and a first-round playoff exit in 2008-09. The Alabama native was then fired after his only season as a head coach.

The Sixers reportedly interviewed Boston Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga on Tuesday. They also received permission to interview Chicago Bulls assistant coaches Ed Pinckney and Adrian Griffin, and Atlanta Hawks assistants Quin Snyder and Kenny Atkinson.

Four other NBA assistants - David Fizdale (Miami Heat), Melvin Hunt (Denver Nuggets), Chris Finch (Houston Rockets) and Kelvin Sampson (Rockets) - have been mentioned as candidates.

Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PompeyonSixers.