On August 25, Elton Brand held a press conference after the Philadelphia 76ers’ season came to an end, and said that the Sixers needed to strengthen their organization from top to bottom and make changes to their front office. Well over a month has passed, and nothing has happened. Except for the odd murmur that executive vice president of basketball operations Alex Rucker might not return and a new president of basketball operations could be hired, we haven’t heard much.
Now, Yaron Weitzman, author of the brilliant book “Tanking to the Top”, has provided an update, reporting that the Sixers have started interviewing candidates to work in an executive role under Brand.
A Sixers front office update. The team has begun interviewing candidates to serve in an executive role under GM Elton Brand, according to league sources.— Yaron Weitzman (@YaronWeitzman) October 7, 2020
Well, that took a while...
Given the way the Sixers’ offseason has worked out so far, this update isn’t surprising. Brand has been given more responsibility and led the head coach search, before the team quickly hired Doc Rivers after he left the Clippers. Furthermore, on September 24, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice reported that while the Sixers wouldn’t completely rule out hiring someone above Brand, the focus would be to build a staff under him.
The Sixers’ confusing front office power structure and the strong influence of ownership has made it unclear exactly who leads basketball decisions and how much say everyone has. And despite so many fans hoping to see a full front office overhaul due to their array of major failures in recent years (I wrote about some of these and the need for front office changes last month), it doesn’t look like that will be the case. Perhaps as the team looks to make a new hire instead, Rucker and assistant GM Ned Cohen will lose some of their influence in the process.
We’ll have to wait and see exactly what the Sixers have in mind for their potential hire and what kind of role/power they envision them taking on. Brand and other members of the front office have done nothing to prove they can be shrewd enough to successfully lead the Sixers’ basketball operations. The plan should be to hire someone who has a proven track record of actually making smart transactions and basketball decisions, and let them lead in this department. But if the Sixers are at least hiring someone to support Brand in basketball operations, or work alongside him behind the scenes, then it should definitely be a positive change for Philly’s front office.