Yaron Weitzman: 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.
Now, word is leaking out that Brand is pushing hard for the Sixers to hire D’Antoni and that Embiid gave his blessing. According to multiple sources, Embiid is happy that he’ll face the basket instead of posting up in D’Antoni’s proposed five-out system. D’Antoni’s plan is to move Tobias Harris back to power forward. The Sixers will also make trades if he’s hired, according to reports. The expectation is that he’ll have a say in picking players for his freewheeling style of play.
But what about Lue? Source have said his progress has been different. So far, his candidacy has consisted of just discussions with Brand, according to sources. The GM did not meet with him in person like other candidates in the first round of interviews. Nor has Lue heard from anyone in the ownership group.
Time will tell what happens with the coaching job left vacant when Brett Brown was fired on Aug. 24. However, league sources said questions about the Sixers' first-office structure have concerned some qualified would-be candidates. They were also concerned that Embiid’s close relationship with ownership would have an impact on a coach’s authority. Another concern was Embiid and Ben Simmons being empowered to think they have a hand in the coaching hire. The sources also wonder who’s actually in charge, even though the Sixers keep saying it’s Brand.
Looking for someone to add below Brand isn’t surprising to league sources, who always questioned ownership’s seriousness in regard to giving up its control to a team president. However, it will be interesting to see if the Sixers make a run at Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for that job. League sources think he could soon be in the market for another job, even though Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said Morey’s job is safe following the team’s second-round playoff elimination.
Brand has been given credit publicly for most of the Sixers' key decisions since he was named GM two years ago. But the owners and other front-office people have been more deeply involved than the team has admitted. Still, he met with the team’s ownership on Monday to discuss a new contract, according to multiple sources. Sources added Brand was expecting to get a three- or four-year deal.
The 41-year-old did not respond to The Inquirer’s multiple inquiries about the meeting. But several sources believes he’s in line to get a contract due to being on the front line taking the hits for the organization. Sometime also happened after Monday’s meeting that would lead you to believe that Brand remain in place. Word leaked that the Sixers were intent on adding front-office talent under him. That came after multiple league sources had said the team was inquiring about the possibility of hiring a president of basketball operations.
A source also believes the Sixers will attempt to inquirer about Morey (Houston Rocket general manager) and Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. The source, however, believes it’s unlikely that those candidates would be interested.
League sources have said the Sixers are inquiring about the possibility of hiring a president of basketball operations. One source said that Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations/ general manager Neil Olshey may have some interest in the Sixers, but that’s only if he has total power, as the president and general manager. Brand is the GM.
Former Atlanta Hawks president of basketball operation/general manager Danny Ferry’s name keeps popping up as a possible candidate. But the Sixers keep shooting that down.
Multiple league sources don’t expect executive vice president of basketball operation Alex Rucker to be back next season. As of Wednesday, there has been no announcements or changes about the team’s front office.
Multiple league sources don’t expect executive vice president of basketball operations Alex Rucker to be back next season. Brand has received a lot of criticism for the Sixers’ shortcomings and poor decisions. However, Rucker has been heavily involved behind the scenes in a lot of the decision-making, according to sources. Philly originally hired him as VP of analytics and strategy in October 2016 after seven years as the Toronto Raptors' senior analytics consultant.
Sources have said assistant GM Ned Cohen and VP of strategy Sergi Oliva were also involved in the decision-making. Oliva had a lot to do with determining the Sixers’ rotation and substitution patterns based on the analytics, according to sources. He was an integral part of the coaching meetings and presented the coaches with an analytics sheet to consult during games.
Derek Bodner: Elton Brand: "It's a difficult day for this organization. We had high expectations and goals, and simply put, we failed."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Discussed the dismissal of Brett Brown and what’s next with the 76ers on @GetUpESPN with @ESPNGreeny. "For the Sixers, you're going to see more changes. Elton Brand, their general manager, I'm told is safe, but he's gonna have the opportunity with senior leadership to make some more changes in the front office."
The franchise's plan is that Brand will continue to oversee basketball operations, sources tell ESPN. Among the Sixers senior leadership, there's still a strong desire to keep the franchise's two young All-Stars -- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons -- together, sources said. The Sixers are determined to let a new coaching staff search for ways to maximize Embiid and Simmons together before even entering into a discussion on trade scenarios.
The Philadelphia 76ers fired coach Brett Brown on Monday, sources tell ESPN. Brown's dismissal is expected to be a precursor for more upheaval for the 76ers, whose senior leadership -- including general manager Elton Brand -- will begin exploring changes in the front office structure, sources said.
This was the 76ers' third straight playoff appearance under Brown, but the loss of Simmons in the seeding games to a knee injury and surgery was a significant blow to their playoff chances. Brown is still owed several million dollars on the remainder of his contract.
Brown is well-respected figure inside and outside the organization and credited with shepherding the franchise through the darkness of The Process and eventually into Eastern Conference playoff contention. After seven seasons on the job, there was a sense that the organization had gone as far as it could with Brown -- a decision that he privately expected his superiors to reach short of a deep playoff run, sources said.
And finally, there was last summer’s disaster. Based on what’s been reported, it appears the Sixers passed on giving a five-year max deal to Jimmy Butler but found the same money for a lesser player in Harris. Worse yet, instead of addressing the glaring need for a ballhandling creator on the perimeter that Butler’s loss exposed, Philly used its cap space from Butler’s departure to address the all-important backup center position and drop nearly $100 million on Al Horford. (Side note: Old friend Richaun Holmes was again a free agent and signed a bargain deal in Sacramento that provided massive value). The deals for Harris and Horford rate among the worst in the game right now, but we’re not done yet. Philly also messed up by using its midlevel exception on little-used forward Mike Scott – once again neglecting the guard positions that loomed as such a weakness.
In the two years since, Colangelo has scarcely spoken publicly about the incident. When he spoke to the Herald from Arizona, he knew it was the elephant in the room. "I haven’t addressed it very much over the course of the last two years. I have stayed very much under the radar on the topic because it’s a sensitive topic, for a lot of reasons," Colangelo said. "Family, personal, professional, or otherwise. I have to say I was dealt a pretty big blow, personally and professionally. And it’s been a difficult time dealing with the fallout. I was completely blindsided by the accusation and the storyline of the controversy."
"Once that investigation was completed and I was absolved, I felt the appropriate thing to do - in conjunction with ownership there in Philly - was to mutually walk away. "It was a difficult decision and a difficult time for me. But I have to say, it was a very, very difficult time for my family. Because of some of the reasons that came to light, it was something I thought was important not to talk about, quite frankly. And we’re still dealing with that. "But the No.1 thing I thought needed to happen was trying to stay positive; preserve and love my family, protect their interests, emotionally or otherwise. And frankly, two years on, it’s gone. It’s in the past and I’m ready to move on."
This answer also shows Colangelo doesn’t deserve credibility. He wasn’t absolved. It was untrue when Colangelo said it at the time, and it’s untrue now. The investigators concluded only that they found no forensic evidence that proved Colangelo knew of the Twitter accounts before they became public – and that they had a significant impediment to finding that evidence. Bottini deleted the contents of her phone before surrendering it for review.
The 76ers did not renew the contracts of several employees for next season. The most notable members not returning to the organization include Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, the Delaware Blue Coats’ assistant general manager; Jesse Wright, director of performance rehabilitation; and Rich Fernando, the Sixers’ director of coaching administration, according to sources.
Rayne Reiter, who was in her first season as a massage therapy associate, also was let go. Last week, the employees were notified their options would not be picked up. The departures were not due to the COVID-19 financial crisis, according to a source. Their contracts expire this summer. Chef Rob Marzinsky also no longer works for the Sixers. Meanwhile, chef Max Botwick left to open up a restaurant with his wife.
Derek Bodner: Brand says they haven't made a determination yet on whether they're going to directly replace Marc Eversley, who was hired by Chicago to be their GM. Says they are always looking for ways to make their organization better, but that they're happy with who they have.
Adrian Wojnarowski: 76ers ownership is planning to change course, pulling back on salary reductions for staff, league source tells ESPN.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, has appointed David Abrams as head of investments. He will lead the company’s investments in sports-related ventures, esports, media, and entertainment. Abrams will use the company’s expertise in operating professional sports teams and venues to lead investments in startups and acquisitions in the area of sports, technology, media and entertainment. He will report to HBSE CEO Scott O’Neil. It’s another sign that esports and gaming are pushing up into mainstream business and culture.
Tim Bontemps: Brett Brown says the Sixers should sign Elton Brand to a “50-year contract.” Says he loves his relationship with Brand, and they talk at least twice a day every day.
If things go sour in the playoffs, executives and agents around the league say that the first big change would be to the coaching staff. Before team president Bryan Colangelo resigned in 2018, there were rumblings across the NBA that he planned to fire Brown and that his preferred replacement was Villanova head coach Jay Wright. Brown stuck around and Brand was hired as general manager, but last year’s locker room didn’t have the best relationship with Brown, multiple league sources said at the time. From the outside, it doesn’t seem like Brown is reaching his team this season, either, considering the inconsistent defensive effort and shaky offensive system. But ownership has supported Brown through the Process and two front-office regime changes.
While fans thrilled to the activity, and of course, the final project, Brand admits that things weren’t always so much fun in the team’s bunker, from the minute the Sixers lost to Toronto in the Eastern Semis until the final signature was secured on a contract. “There was immense pressure,” he says. “We want to provide the fan base with a championship-level team, and we wanted to get the roster right for the other players on the team. We had Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and we didn’t want to waste their time on the team. “The draft was a lot of pressure, too. We were trying to get some vets, but we also wanted to get minimum [salary] guys who want to be here. We want to win a championship.”
But Brand certainly doesn’t sound like a grumpy old-timer. In fact, he is a big fan of the current NBA style, even if there aren’t many opportunities for big men who live in the lane. “The NBA changed 20 years ago when I entered it and 35 years ago when I became a fan,” he says. “I like it. Aesthetically, it looks great. It’s a different game. There used to be more post play and elbows to the face. Now, you see spacing and athleticism and freedom of movement. I like it.
Marc J. Spears: Amongst several announced hires, Sixers add ex-NBA center Roy Hibbert as Player Development Specialist, promote ex-NBA player Ruben Boumtje Boumtje to Asst. GM of G-League Delaware, promote Remy Ndiaye to Player Development Specialist & add Lorena Torres as Performance Director.
Kyle Neubeck: Lorena Torres-Ronda, formerly the Sports Science Coordinator for the San Antonio Spurs, will be hired as the Performance Director for the Sixers, I’m told. Expect there will be more staff announcements for Philly in the coming days.
After reshaping his roster with a series of moves this week, most notably landing forward Tobias Harris in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand declared Friday morning that Philadelphia's time to win is now. "We believe we are in position to contend now," Brand said, "and our moves reflect that belief."
But Brand said that while the youth of Simmons and Embiid might signal this team having a long window to let things play out slowly, the fact both of them are this good, this quick led him and the rest of Philadelphia's front office to decide the time to strike was now. "They rapidly improved over the last season, so the window is now," Brand said. "The opportunity is now. So, once I saw that, we discussed taking a shot at it now, because who knows how long that window is going to be open?"
For first-year Sixers general manager Elton Brand, it is the second significant deal of the season -- bringing Harris and Butler into the Sixers lineup. Along with Butler, Harris will be a free agent this summer and the Sixers plan to be aggressive in re-signing him to an extension, league sources said.
If Philadelphia feels the same way, it would stand to reason the 76ers would be more reticent to use either Fultz or draft picks to try to bolster that group, perhaps choosing to wait and see what happens over the next few months before committing to Butler, Embiid and Simmons as the team's long-term core. "I don't believe there is any uncertainty," Brown said. "I think, at times, you are trying to move some pieces around. If that equals uncertainty, so be it. But I think there's enough certainty to understand that we want to be as aggressive as we can. "Elton will be as aggressive as he can be in the next week to bolster our team. And I think that that is, as I've just said, that doesn't equate to, 'We don't really know what we have.' That's not it."
Falk lists Brand, Michael Jordan, John Lucas, Phil Ford, Patrick Ewing and Juwan Howard among the clients with whom he gravitated the most in more than four decades in the business. One became an owner, four have gone into coaching and now Brand is the executive. “He’s a natural for it,” Falk said. “He’s got great people skills. People like him. It wasn’t that I always thought he’d be a GM but he’s a really smart guy. He doesn’t want to do nothing, doesn’t want to be bored. … I think he’ll be really good at it, as long as they let him do the job.”
Brown was handed a dual role in the interim but had no desire in holding both roles on a permanent basis. “I don’t believe that they work. You just realize the responsibility that that role has and the dynamics that an organization needs to have in roles and responsibilities and focus areas and there is just too much on the plate to do it well. And that’s just for me. You recognize that from the get-go,” Brown said, without acknowledging recent situations for Budenholzer, Stan Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau that didn’t work out. “I don’t even reference other examples. I just know, for me. I came from Pop and R.C. and so, that’s a successful example. Although there are other examples that might not have worked, it had nothing to do either with the successful ones with Pop or even the ones that we know didn’t work recently. It had nothing to do with that.
The Philadelphia 76ers announced January 8th the hiring of Annelie Schmittel. In her new role as 76ers Vice President of Player Development, Schmittel will be responsible for creating, managing and overseeing the holistic development and implementation of programs that support the professional and personal growth of 76ers players, staff and families.
Jon Johnson: Elton Brand:"There was nothing medically that we saw that said he couldn't play" #Fultz
“We learned a lot from our series against the Celtics, and we felt we needed Jimmy,” Josh Harris told The Athletic. “Since last summer, we’ve felt we needed a third elite talent. You don’t get a chance to get this talent every day. Jimmy wants to win, and Joel and Ben want to win. That’s the bottom line." "When you can add a talented four-time All-Star, you got to do it and then worry about everything else afterward,” Brand told The Athletic. “We already lost to Milwaukee, we already lost to Boston, we already lost to Toronto — we needed to take a shot, take a leap. That was my thought, my vision. Me and my staff, we talked to ownership and they had our backs. You get the talent first. Talent wins. “When I talked to Nazr and Mike, they genuinely love Jimmy and say, ‘He just wants to win, EB. This is all about hoop.’ Of course, the money, whatever, it will work out when it’s time. We hope he sees a fit, and we hope we see a fit.”
Derek Bodner: #sixers general manager Elton Brand on the acquisition of Jimmy Butler. pic.twitter.com/B5Tt2Do6IN
Brian Seltzer: Statements from HBSE Managing Partner Josh Harris, Co-Managing Partner David Blitzer. pic.twitter.com/5QnzqNxHUx
Once the Wolves finally came to the conclusion that a deal had to be made, owner Glen Taylor spoke personally with Sixers owner Josh Harris to push it through, sources said. The Wolves were in a difficult position from a bargaining perspective given all of the negativity, and losing, that had enveloped the franchise. The Wolves were eyeing three offers from different teams, but made the decision on Saturday to go forward with Philly’s package, sources said.
This summer Brown oversaw basketball operations while ownership went in search of Colangelo's replacement. The Sixers had initially gone big-game hunting, and a number of veteran general managers had reached out through intermediaries to inquire about what was now the most coveted executive opening in the NBA. Discussions with Rockets GM Daryl Morey were "pretty far down the road," according to a source close to the process, but Morey elected to remain in Houston.
Several league insiders interpreted Brand's hire as a statement of control by the Sixers' ownership group, as was Brand's title of "general manager." (Colangelo served as president of basketball operations.) The thinking goes that should they have second thoughts, the owners can return to the big-game hunt and install someone at the top of the org chart above Brand.
Whenever the Bryan Colangelo/burner-accounts situation was unfolding over the summer, what was it like to be a player in the middle of that and what were your thoughts as things were surfacing? Robert Covington: It was a lot… But, I mean, you never really know the truth behind everything and you never know exactly what happened. I think you have to take everything with a grain of salt. You never know what the truth was behind it. But, as a player, you can’t allow yourself to get caught up in it too much because then it may start to affect your play and all that. We really just had to focus on what we had going on at that time. Then, during the offseason, that’s when everything played out [and Colangelo resigned]. Sometimes, you just have to move on. It’s sad that it happened to us, considering how everything was going [in the right direction]. But things happen.
Shams Charania: Sources on @theathleticnba @watchstadium: The Philadelphia 76ers are promoting exec Matt Lilly to interim GM of G League Delaware. Lilly worked under 76ers GM Elton Brand in Delaware last season.
"Brand lacks a little experience, but I really like the hire," a source familiar with the Sixers organization said. "He knows the game, works hard, gets along with people, and is a basketball guy. Those are all positives. He listens to people and heeds their advice. Can he make his own decisions and keep ownership out of decisions is a question to be determined."
But sources have said that limited partner David Heller, a businessman and former Goldman Sachs executive, was running the show in Colangelo's absence, and that he, more than Brown, was the acting general manager at least through the NBA draft process if not the whole offseason. Sources have said that co-managing owner Josh Harris listens entirely to Heller.
Pressed on who would ultimately have final say in the organization, Josh Harris gave a rather roundabout answer that both did and did not answer the question: "Elton and Brett are partners, like in many, many great organizations in basketball, him and Brett are partners. Both of them report to me and to ownership, and we expect they'll be collaborating a lot. Ultimately, Brett is the on the court voice, and Elton's the off-the-court voice. Elton will have kind of the loudest voice off the court, and final decisionmaking authority subject to ownership...minute-to-minute coach sort of decisions will be Brett, and personnel decisions, trades, free agency will be Elton."
In fact, Harris' primary rebuttal to questions about Brand's lack of experience was to point to what he did as a player and not anything specific he'd done to date as a Sixers staffer: "Elton has 17 years experience as a player, and you can't discount that in terms of understanding how this league works and how to get to the next level. And in his two years of management experience, we've been incredibly impressed, and then during the interview process, his vision and ability to lead was evident. But also, just the broad support he had internally, across the board, and so it became a relatively easy decision for us, he rose."
Prior to this new promotion, Brand was expected to dedicate time to the big league club and be part of the parent club's ultimate decision-making process, a source told PhillyVoice in late August. The Sixers, as they did when he was brought back as a player in the dog days of "The Process", expected him to serve in some capacity as a "big brother" to their players. But the meatier part of his August promotion was gaining input on front-office decisions for the 76ers.
The Philadelphia 76ers hired Elton Brand as general manager on Tuesday, completing a meteoric rise in the franchise's front office, league sources told ESPN. Brand made a strong impression on ownership and coach Brett Brown in the interview process, beating out several more experienced candidates inside and outside the Sixers organization, sources said. Ultimately, ownership believed that he had sold them on vision, preparedness and the ability to grow into the role at a crucial time for the organization.
The Sixers had become enamored with the idea of keeping the chemistry of this front-office group together, and probed outside candidates about how they thought that dynamic would work with a new leader. The Sixers won 52 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals a year ago, returning a core that includes All-Star Joel Embiid and rookie of the year Ben Simmons. The Sixers are determined to use max salary space for a star complement to those young players next summer in free agency.
Derek Bodner: One of my major takeaways from today's luncheon with Brett Brown was he wouldn't deny whether he might have final say in partnership with the new GM. He did say the org chart would be explained when the GM is announced. Will be interesting how they describe partnership on Thurs.
Kyle Neubeck: Can confirm @Adrian Wojnarowski's report that Elton Brand has been promoted to GM of the Sixers. Side commentary: Brand had already received the biggest bump in power earlier this summer, so org. clearly really likes him. Little surprised at how quickly he has risen, though.
Brian Seltzer: Brown wants to keep coaching, GM duties separate, because thinking of how to play in June dominates his world. "To think I have the bandwith to do the job I'd want to do is naive on my part."
Keith Pompey: The #Sixers ownership group had dinner last night w/ Utah Jazz assistant general manager Justin Zanik on Sunday for their vacant GM job and will have dinner w/ Houston Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas tonight, according to sources. This is both candidates second interview. pic.twitter.com/r7OH8w1gsD
March 1, 2021 | 9:24 am EST Update
That means the Lakers could have competition to keep their role players. As an athletic guard who can defend, unrestricted free agent Caruso will have suitors. League executives think he could draw interest at the full midlevel exception range, which is $9.5 million next season. (Caruso currently earns $2.7 million.)
Horton-Tucker is another player who could have an intriguing free agency next summer. He is averaging just 6.7 points and 2.5 assists, but teams are watching him with interest. The second-year wing will be an early Bird restricted free agent, which limits the type of offers he can receive and gives the Lakers the ability to match, but that doesn’t mean doing so will be easy. “He’s a gifted defender with great length and great upside who’s just 20 years old. In this market, that’s exactly the type of player you want to chase,” one Eastern Conference executive said. “There could be a few teams who put them to the test and give [Horton-Tucker] an offer sheet thinking they could pry him away.”
Keeping Caruso, Horton-Tucker, Schroder and Harrell at their potential market values could push the Lakers’ payroll to $150 million. (Gasol’s $2.7 million salary is already guaranteed.) That’s without filling out the roster with other veterans or retaining Morris or Matthews. Once that is done, even with just minimum salaries, the Lakers could be looking at a base payroll of around $170 million to keep the team intact. Add in more than $100 million in luxury taxes and their commitments for next season would land between $250 million and $270 million.
Bobby Marks: A side note to the @Brian Windhorst article on the LA Lakers is how much tax Portland spent in 2002-03. The Trail Blazers had a tax bill of $52.7M based on a $1 for $1 tax scale. If this was today, that tax bill would have been an incredible $213M.
“It’s a proud organization — I was here during the ’90s — but that has nothing to do with today,” he said. “Just like I don’t want us looking ahead, I don’t want us looking behind and what happened in the past. It’s important to know the history of the organization, that part is important, but our focus has to be exactly on what’s in front of us and that’s each day, each game, each practice. Be ready to keep improving. We got a young team. We have a team that can grow.”
The Knicks have outplayed expectations in every way. The annual lottery fodder has a better record than the Heat, Celtics, and the Raptors. The team long mocked for their lack of spacing and shooting is — get ready for this — 11th in the NBA in 3-point percentage. They are the fifth-best 3-point shooting team in the NBA over their past 15 games.
March 1, 2021 | 6:21 am EST Update
That even goes for Buddy Hield, who has an NBA 3-point shootout title to defend, although he was non-committal about the even. “Do you think I should go defend it?” Hield asked reporters when talking about the event. “I don’t know yet, to be honest, I’ve been having mixed emotions, you know, cover rules and especially I don’t have no time with my family. Just trying to see how the COVID rules and the boundaries are set up. No clear cut yes yet, I’ll just see in the next couple of days.” According to Hield, he received an invitation from the league to join the festivities, but he is still mulling it over.
“It was a play for me or P.J.,” Monk said. “I told [Ball] to pass it to P, and he was like, nah. I had to make something happen.” Hield, who finished with 30 points, missed a desperation heave from beyond midcourt as time ran out. Earlier Sunday night, he became the fastest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 career 3-pointers, doing so in his 350th career game. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was the previous fastest at 369 games.