IN AN IDEAL basketball world the 76ers would be set to move forward with a new coach, perhaps a new president, maybe a new general manager or at least word that the one in place (Tony DiLeo) will be here beyond June 30, when his contract expires.

Since April 18, when it was announced that coach Doug Collins was resigning and majority owner Josh Harris stated that the organization is now basically a blank canvas, we have heard nothing from the team. There have been reports of background checks on perspective coaches, various names thrown about as to whom may replace Collins.

Without Collins, who appeared to have his stamp on most of the moves made over the past few seasons, and Rod Thorn, the former president who is now in an advisory position (which means taking phone calls once in a while from his Naples, Fla., home), most, if not all, of the basketball decisions may be sitting in DiLeo's lap. And on April 18, Harris didn't exactly give a glowing endorsement when he said DiLeo was the GM "for now."

Doesn't seem as if anything has moved forward since then, and that's just in the front office. What about decisions on the players? Is everyone being dangled for possible trades? Is there a plan to build with Jrue Holiday? Has patience run out on Evan Turner?

Perhaps one way to help get answers to these and other questions is just a phone call away - a step back to move forward.

"I have great feelings about the Sixers, I still live in Philly," former Sixers coach and current Southern Methodist University head man Larry Brown said earlier this week. "I moved Tony DiLeo up and hired Courtney Witte and am close to everybody there. I haven't heard from them, and I don't want to speculate. I don't know anything about those guys and what their goals are. My relationship was with Ed Snider. He brought me here and he let me hire everybody, and Pat let me do my job. We had a pretty bad roster with bad financial situations and we had to rebuild."

Sound a little familiar?

"I'd love to be a resource any way I can," Brown continued. "But I have a job that I'm happy and comfortable with."

During the conversation, Brown endlessly talked about his love for Philadelphia and the organization and the behind-the-scenes people who were with the Sixers when he was here and remain there now. He also said numerous times how happy he is to be coaching at SMU, where he went 15-17 in his first season and secured a solid recruiting class for next season. He heaped praise upon his Mustangs coaching staff, which includes Eric Snow and George Lynch, both of whom played for him during his six seasons as Sixers coach. He said all the politically correct things. He came nowhere near saying so, but the feeling here is that he certainly wouldn't mind being considered to be Collins' successor.

Would a step back in time benefit an organization trying to become relevant in the future? It wouldn't be too surprising a move by the ownership, as holding on to the glory days of the past has been its MO.

Julius Erving and nearly every prominent player from the championship team of 1983 have made multiple appearances at games. Allen Iverson has been back a couple of times to present the game ball to referees. Darryl Dawkins is nearly a regular visitor. So why not take a shot with the coach who has had the most recent success with the franchise?

In his years with the Sixers, Brown balanced success (70 games over .500 in his final five seasons, five playoff appearances) with the headache and excitement that was Iverson. He tinkered with the roster until he helped assemble a group that surrounded the diminutive superstar and never minded playing second fiddle. His groups "played the right way" around Iverson, culminating in the Finals appearance against the Lakers in 2001.