Just before 7PM local time on Tuesday, Philadelphia’s long-running nightmare ended. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped one of his patented #WojBomb’s, breaking the news of Elton Brand’s hiring as the new general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Philadelphia has hired Elton Brand as general manager, league sources tell ESPN. Brand will be elevated from VP of Basketball Operations. He made strong impression on ownership and Brett Brown in process, beating out several inside and outside candidates.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 18, 2018
Roughly three months after Bryan Colangelo’s resignation, the Sixers fill their GM vacancy. For most of the time following Colangelo’s departure, there was radio silence from Sixers ownership. It wasn’t until the beginning of September that we were made aware, once again by Woj, that ownership would commence interviewing GM candidates.
Ownership interviewed Larry Harris of the Warriors, Justin Zanik of the Jazz, and Gersson Rosas of the Rockets, with Zanik and Rosas each having two interviews. Of course, ownership also had plans to interview in-house candidates, like Marc Eversley, Ned Cohen, Alex Rucker, and Elton Brand.
I think most people expected the team to hire someone that was already in the building. This was due to comments by Josh Harris, the team’s managing partner. He echoed that they really wanted to hire someone that would make collaborative decisions, without necessarily having final say in every situation. They also decided to interview outside candidates immediately following the promotions of at least four current front office members.
On its face, that seems like common sense. Every front office operates collaboratively, with some doing so more than others. Just because someone has “final say” doesn’t mean they can’t collaborate with their co-workers. It was just an odd thing to say, mainly because of how obvious the point was.
While hiring someone from the inside isn’t shocking, hiring Elton Brand is. Brand retired from his playing career, for the second time, just under two years ago. Since then, he’s been working with the Sixers, in various capacities. He started as a player development consultant, working mainly with the team’s young players. A year ago, he was named the GM of the team’s G-League affiliate, now known as the Delaware Blue Coats.
This summer, Brand was a part of the Sixers front office, collaborating with Brett Brown, Eversley, Cohen, and Rucker. He was promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations, in addition to his duties as GM of the Blue Coats. (Alex Rucker was promoted to Executive VP of Basketball Operations after Brand was hired as GM.)
Brand seems to be universally liked around the league. Since news broke, multiple players have chimed in.
— Andre Iguodala (@andre) September 18, 2018
Congrats EB.. Trust It https://t.co/OBhwkENXsC
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) September 18, 2018
Congrats to my bro Elton Brand… one of the guys I’ve admired and looked up too throughout my career. Always very professional, and extremely humble.
— Jameer Nelson (@jameernelson) September 19, 2018
Having the respect of the players is huge for a GM. I can’t imagine many other people around the league feeling differently about Brand, either. He’s a genuinely nice guy. All of that should go a long way in helping the team make deals with agents and other teams. As we all know, or should all know, relationships are everything in the NBA. It seems Brand checks that box multiple times.
As far as his GM qualifications go, he’s obviously lacking. After once proclaiming they only wanted to hire someone with GM experience, the Sixers hired someone with barely any front office experience at all. I don’t even have much to say about his hiring, to be honest. I have no idea how to evaluate him because we don’t know what decisions he’s pushed for or against within the front office. We’ll just have to wait and see.
It’s painfully obvious that Harris and Co. didn’t want to rock the boat. They wanted to keep things as close to how they have been as possible because they liked how things had been going, minus a few Twitter accounts. He is the perfect guy, in addition to Brett Brown, to be a public face of the organization. I personally would’ve gone another, but I think Brand deserves the benefit of the doubt.
We like to say “Trust the process” around these parts, but their hiring process seems flawed. Ownership better hope they got this one right. Otherwise, there will be a lot of Philly anger from Sixers fans.
The front office now looks like this:
#Sixers front-office chain of command: Elton Brand, Alex Rucker, Ned Cohen and Marc Eversley.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) September 19, 2018
This next year is huge for the Sixers. Will this decision help them succeed?
There will be a press conference on Thursday, where Brand will be introduced publicly.