The 23-year-old told ESPN on Wednesday after the Philadelphia NBA game he intended to play in Tokyo.
“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. He’s coaching me now, so we have a great relationship. I’ve known him my whole life. I’m excited to put together a great team,” Simmons told ESPN.
With the Olympics just eight months away Gaze felt that having a coach based in the US, where most of the players are, made sense.
If everyone is fit, it’s likely that at least nine of the 12-player squad will be current NBA players.
“I think Andrej was doing a great job but it’s helpful to have someone involved in the NBA because we have so many players who can represent Australia who compete at the NBA level,” Gaze told AAP.
“To have someone who is accustomed to the mentality, the style of play, and all those variables that go along with playing in the NBA – to have an elite coach that’s at the coal face of that is a huge advantage.”
Gaze said the fact that Brown had previously held the role – from 2009 until 2012 – before handing over to Lemanis, and had a close relationship with many of the current players, would make the transition as smooth as possible.
Brown took many of the team veterans to the London Olympics in 2012, where they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by the USA.
“Brett knows the players intimately as the head coach of the Boomers,” Gaze said.
“He was introducing Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Patty Mills – these players who are now an integral part of the team and the nucleus of the team – so he knows them well.
“He knows the Australian system well, he understands the culture of Australia and Australian basketball so we’re very fortunate and privileged.”
Gaze said that despite falling short of winning a major international medal, Lemanis’ six-year Boomers tenure should be considered a success, particularly given the financial constraints of basketball in Australia.
“Andrej’s done an outstanding job and has been a great coach,” Gaze said.
“His record at the international game has been very good – we are always striving for the ultimate but the reality is that it’s very competitive.
“The way in which he was able to implement a system that enabled Australia to compete at the highest level and get everyone on the same page shouldn’t be underestimated.
“BA don’t have an endless bucket of money so working within those constraints, he’s got the absolute best out of it.”