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CJ Bruton, Adelaide 36ers mutually part ways

The Adelaide 36ers have parted ways with head coach CJ Bruton, the team announced on Wednesday morning.

The decision - which the team claims is by "mutual agreement" - came after the 36ers' 35-point loss to the Tasmania JackJumpers, which saw them drop to 4-9 on the season.

Bruton was in the final year of his contract.

Bruton had been at the helm of the 36ers since the start of the 2021-22 NBL season.

He'll finish his time with the team with a 27-40 record over the course of his time as head coach.

Scott Ninnis, who served as an assistant under Bruton this season, will take on the role as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

"We thank CJ for his tireless efforts, both on and off the court, but we believe it's time to go in a new direction," 36ers CEO, Nic Barbato, said.

"The 36ers organisation would like to thank CJ for his time at the Club and wish him and his family all the best for their future endeavours."

Much of the 36ers' playing group grew frustrated with Bruton after the team's loss to the JackJumpers on Saturday, sources told ESPN.

There's also been significant frustration among the playing group in assistant coach, Craig Simpson, sources said.

Earlier this week, Bruton received pressure from the team's decision-makers to shake up the playing rotation, sources said.

Some of the team's veteran players were likely to be the victims of that shakeup, sources said.

The decision to part ways with Bruton comes on the back of the 36ers entering talks with Dejan Vasiljevic regarding a potential multi-year extension, sources said.

Vasiljevic initially signed a one-year deal with the 36ers a few games into the season, and his opinion is being given strong consideration in roster decisions, sources said.

Ninnis is not regarded as a long-term option, sources said, with the team expected to begin a search for a full-time replacement.

The 36ers' 2023-24 campaign began on the back foot, with the team parting ways with import Jamaal Franklin before the regular season began.

Simpson was the team's biggest proponent of Franklin, whom he coached in China, sources said.

The 36ers currently sit in ninth place on the NBL ladder, and haven't made the postseason since the 2018-19 season.