76ers Stay In-House With Promotion Of Elton Brand To GM Role
The 76ers "stayed in house and hired Elton Brand" as their new GM, with Brand "expected to be introduced" during a news conference tomorrow, according to Keith Pompey of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Brand had previously been 76ers VP/Basketball Operations and G League Delaware Blue Coats GM. Brand retired from playing in '16, "ending a 17-year career," and now goes from playing for 76ers coach Brett Brown to "being a peer to being his boss in 23 months." Brown, who served as interim GM following Bryan Colangelo's departure, joined 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil and co-Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer in the "interviewing and hiring process." Sources said that the 76ers "wanted their next GM to be someone who will be a public face and win over the fans." That "fits the well-respected Brand, who was regarded as one of the best locker room guys in the NBA." He is "someone players can relate to." Pompey notes Brand will "basically have to learn on the job" after just one year in charge of the Blue Coats. But the 76ers "always said experience wasn't a prerequisite." The ownership group "conducted second interviews" with Jazz Assistant GM Justin Zanik on Sunday and Rockets Exec VP/Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas on Monday before deciding on Brand (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/19). ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski noted Brand "made a strong impression on ownership" during the interview process. Ultimately, ownership "believed Brand had sold them on vision, preparedness and the ability to grow into the role at a crucial time for the organization" (ESPN.com, 9/18).
FAMILIARITY A SELLING POINT: USA TODAY's Jeff Zillgitt writes the 76ers hired Brand because of his ability to "command the respect of NBA owners." Also because of his "business savvy" and his ability to "relate to players" (USA TODAY, 9/19). NBCSPORTSPHILADELPHIA.com's Matt Haughton wrote the 76ers "went with a familiar face who is expected to operate in their desired collaborative method to run the front office" (NBCSPORTSPHILADELPHIA.com, 9/18). ESPN's Mike Golic said people saw the 76ers hiring Brand "possibly down the road but maybe not as fast as it's happening because it's happening at light speed." ESPN's Mike Golic Jr. said the 76ers are a franchise where "youth has been the story" for the "longest time now." Golic Jr.: "That is what the ground swell of success and support has been about for this team, so (Brand) fits right in with the culture" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 9/19).
WORK IN PROGRESS: In Philadelphia, Sarah Todd writes bringing in an outside hire who would have "wanted more power was not what the Sixers were looking for." But in the new partnership between Brown and Brand, it is "still unclear who will have the final say" in the decision-making process. At some point, one of them "will likely have to take responsibility" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/19). THE RINGER's Paolo Uggetti wrote Brand is an "internal hire, but a bold one." He "doesn't have a front-office pedigree." However, the hiring of Brand is a "boon for Brown" in that he does not need to continue in a dual coach-GM role (THERINGER.com, 9/18). Meanwhile, THE ATHLETIC's Rich Hofmann writes the hiring of Brand is a "fascinating move that will face a lot of scrutiny." Hofmann: "Unorthodox, but hey, what about this search hasn't been?" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/19).
TWITTER REAX: Philadelphia-based WIP-FM's Spike Eskin: "Brand is a great guy and obviously very smart and knows the game but this is quite a curveball." ESPN's Pablo Torre: "I hope Elton Brand is a good GM. I just have no idea what the Sixers are even doing." 76ers blogger Eric Sidewater: "Brilliant move promoting Elton Brand to GM. You get the consensus builder who won't shut the door on the analytics department, but also the guy who can entice potential FAs." The Athletic's Derek Bodner: "I see a lot of takes that Elton Brand helps the Sixers in free agency next year. If that's your stance, I'd argue you're vastly overrating the impact a GM has in luring max level free agents."
MOVIN' ON UP: The INQUIRER's Pompey notes in addition to promoting Brand, the 76ers yesterday "elevated Alex Rucker" to Exec VP/Basketball Operations. Rucker was previously Senior VP/Analytics & Strategy. He is now "second in command in the Sixers front office," followed by Assistant GM Ned Cohen, then Senior VP/Player Personnel Marc Eversley (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/19).