NBA Rumor: Sixers Front Office

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How do you see the front office hierarchy with regards to GM Elton Brand? Will you be making decisions jointly, or does Brand come to you and you make the final call? Does it depend on the decision? Will you be making the big moves with Brand focused on the day to day? Would love to hear your answer, thank you. Daryl Morey: Elton and I have been collaborating very closely — I think he has a chance to be one of the great GMs with his skill set. On top of that he has the unique background of being a top NBA player — all else equal with a GM you would want someone who was a former NBA player — it helps in many aspects of the job. I feel like it has been a great partnership where we are learning from each other. I like giving staff huge responsibility as it helps them develop — I take a small amount of pride there are 6 front offices that are run by folks with Houston ties now.

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NFL team called Daryl Morey

Before he was named the president of the Philadelphia 76ers, former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey figured he would sit out for a year while he evaluated his next move. But that was before he received a call from Philadelphia—and an NFL team. In an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Morey did not identify which NFL team reached out, but he said he was approached about a job as a GM in the league (at the 2:30 mark). “I told them I probably don’t know enough,” Morey said. “… It would be very presumptive for me to think I could help an NFL team, but they did reach out.”

Now, 11 months later, Nelson is the newly-minted Assistant General Manager of the Blue Coats. He will also serve as a 76ers scout. “I hope I didn’t say too many bad things,” Nelson said with a laugh. Nelson is not far removed from his own playing days. He last suited up in an NBA game in the spring of 2018. The 38-year-old Chester, PA native and former National Player of the Year at Saint Joseph’s University holds 14 seasons’ worth of NBA playing experience. In 878 career games, the bulk of which were played with the Orlando Magic, he averaged 11.3 points and 5.1 assists.

Hinkie was first asked about rejoining the Philadelphia 76ers, which on the face seems like a better chance than previously considering Daryl Morey was just hired by the team. “Oh, zero,” said Hinkie. “Zero. I’ve turned that chapter for sure. That part of my life. I very much like what I’m doing now. I like surrounding myself with people who think in sort of the timeframes I do, which is often longer. That are quite comfortable with long feedback loops. That want to do the kinds of things I do, which is bet on young people and watch them flourish.” Torre then asked Hinkie about working in any capacity within the NBA. “Zero. Zero. The same,” said Hinkie.
3 months ago via ESPN

Adrian Wojnarowski: There is a front office that had a lot of input around Elton (Brand) and I think he tried to navigate all that the best he could having come up pretty quickly out of his playing career, worked in the front office and made the adjustment really fast, I think, to doing the job really working hard at it. And now I think it remains to be seen. I think the initial plan or the initial thought is that Elton may stay. He is welcome to stay. It’s a question of, does it make sense for him? Obviously, Daryl, you know, when Daryl is running the team, he’s running the team. And so that’s a different. I think that’s a conversation. So for Elton brand, I know he’s well regarded by Doc and Daryl coming in and ownership. And so we’ll see how that plays out.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sixers prefer to not trade either Joel Embiid or Ben SImmons

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.


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.

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.
1 year ago via SLAM

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.”
1 year ago via SLAM

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.


2 years ago via ESPN

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?”
2 years ago via ESPN

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.

“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.”
2 years ago via ESPN

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.

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.

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.
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January 22, 2021 | 10:23 am EST Update
Curry also wanted clarity on whether officials could review an ejection in the future under similar circumstances. “It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Curry said of the questionable second technical. “He’s been very vocal with James. I know he had already gotten a tech early in the game and obviously mindful of that, he was just talking to his teammate. The refs got confused. And I don’t know what the rules are in that situation when it’s pretty clear who he was talking to, and I don’t know if you can take it back in the moment, but it was pretty glaring that he was talking to his own teammate and kind of unfortunate that it got confused, so move on.”
In addition, there is an ongoing debate of how much a defence can truly impact an opponent’s 3-point percentage? Frequency, sure, but accuracy is less certain. Anecdotally, though, opponents seem to be more prepared for the Raptors cadre of shot-bothers to fly by them. Yet, it remains part of the strategy. “It’s a really fine line in the game,” Nick Nurse said before the win over Dallas earlier in the week. “We normally want to jump by when we know the shot is going to be taken. What you’re doing there is putting a maximum contest on it. It takes a little bit to be able to do that. Kyle (Lowry) is really good at that, those experienced guys like Fred (VanVleet). But after listening to Green bark at various points throughout the night, hearing his frustration one more time apparently was enough, in the officials’ minds at the time, to warrant an ejection. “At halftime Ben Taylor came out and told me that it was a mistake,” Kerr said. “That John Butler didn’t realize that Draymond was yelling at his teammate. He thought he was yelling at him.”
January 22, 2021 | 3:55 am EST Update