After a summer of mostly silence, capped by a recent flurry of interviews of both internal and external candidates, the Philadelphia 76ers have hired their new general manager.
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
Brand is an extremely familiar face for Sixers fans, having played parts of five seasons in Philadelphia during his long NBA career, serving as the general manager of the organization’s G League affiliate in Delaware, and recently being promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations. The Ol’ School Chevy has a stellar reputation around the league for his professionalism both while in the locker room and in the front office, a point of fact that I’m sure appealed to management in the wake of the Colangelo family social media scandal.
We all like Elton Brand, the person. Could he be a good NBA general manager? I don’t know. It’s hard to draw any conclusions about his capabilities for the job when he was still lacing up his sneakers a mere two and a half years ago. Players viewing him as a peer and someone who has been in their shoes is certainly a positive attribute Brand will bring to the table.
However, I suspect a lot of the discussion around Brand’s hiring will surround the rest of the front office, as other promotions were announced Tuesday:
Beyond promoting Brand to GM, Sixers are elevating Alex Rucker to Executive VP of Basketball Operations, Ned Cohen stays assistant GM and Marc Eversley SVP of Player Personnel, sources said. https://t.co/XL9Ij5U4zV— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 18, 2018
Clearly, management was comfortable with the status quo of their internal decision makers, most of whom have connections to the NBA league office. Brand was the safe choice. Someone who would be thrilled with his rapid rise to a coveted general manager position, and content to keep all other personnel in place, maintaining that “collaborative front office” Josh Harris found so desirable.
Rising stars in front office circles like Justin Zanik and Gersson Rosas, each of whom received second interviews this week, might have justifiably wanted to forge their own paths with their own staff. Everything we heard from management made it seem as though that was a deal-breaker for Harris and Co. Rather than attempt to hire the best general manager available, it seems like the Sixers were satisfied hiring the best general manager available who fit their very specific set of criteria.
Ultimately, this result seems somewhat pre-determined. The Sixers never gave any indication they wanted to shake things up and took an entire summer to conclude that the best man for the general manager job was the general manager of their G League team. It’s a continuation of the “don’t do anything drastic to avoid screwing things up” mantra that Philadelphia has followed ever since Sam Hinkie left the franchise with such a stocked cupboard of assets.
Anyway, what’s done is done. Elton Brand is the general manager of the Sixers. At least he’s a man we can all root for to succeed. There’s a universe where some anonymous whistle blower doesn’t alert The Ringer to suspicious Twitter activity and Bryan Colangelo is still the GM. This is a better universe than that one. With a roster featuring some of the best young talent in the league, the Sixers are already a pretty sweet ride. Drive us home, Elton.