Rod Thorn Rumors
During Saturday’s banquet, the long time NBA executive who drafted Michael Jordan reflected on his time working with one of the most talented players in the NBA. “He was by far the best but what he brought to the table that no analytic can let you know is the heart he had. Jordan is not like the rest of us if you cut his arm there would be wires, not blood. He’s different he’s not like us, and he wasn’t he was different, he had it,” Thorn said.
Nets Daily: Nets have had two assistant GM’s a couple of times in the past, under both Rod Thorn (Bobby Marks and Ed Stefanski) and Billy King (Bobby Marks and Frank Zanin.) What makes Peterson and Birdsong different is that they are both so young. 30 years old.
Brian Mahoney: Rod Thorn wins USA Basketball’s Edward S. Steitz Award, given for contributions to international basketball.
Colangelo leaned on one of his mentors, Pete Newell, a legendary coach and basketball luminary. Newell visited Phoenix and Colangelo presented his concerns and general goals the afternoon prior to a Suns game, and the conversation continued at the arena and over a glass of wine following the game. The next morning, Newell delivered a six-page outline on the various concepts and ideas laid out over the course of the previous day. Soon after, in the early spring, Colangelo’s committee, which included heavy hitters such as Jerry West, Wayne Embry, Jack Ramsay and Rod Thorn, in addition to a handful of active coaches and general managers, convened at The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The committee plowed through the proposals, which included requiring teams to bring the ball over half court in eight seconds rather than 10. (Colangelo had suggested seven seconds.) The NBA’s illegal defense rule, which had existed in one form or another to prohibit zone defenses since the league’s earliest days, was scrapped. Instead, the committee proposed the defensive three-second rule, preventing defenders from loitering in the paint but allowing them to defend an area rather than an opponent elsewhere on the court.
Rod Thorn, the former Nets and 76ers executive, and soon-to-be Hall of Famer, says that general managers always keep a list in their heads. “In reality, you’re constantly observing coaches,” he said. “You see coaches who you say they’re doing a terrific job and you try to ascertain why.”
The biggest key to any future success, executives unanimously say, is alignment throughout the organization. Trying to project that from such a short amount of time and little interaction is extremely difficult. “Sometimes you get tricked,” Thorn said. Says one former head of basketball ops, summing up a common belief: “In general they tell you what you want to hear.”
A topic that came up repeatedly in discussions with stakeholders was how the league has operated differently under Silver and vice president of operations Kiki VanDeWeghe than their predecessors. According to those who communicate with him regularly, VanDeWeghe especially tends to play peacemaker more often than Rod Thorn and Stu Jackson, who held the position under David Stern. While this is welcomed by some, it can leave a gray area on rule interpretations. It was one of the reasons the unions agreed to communicate directly with each other when needed, sources said.
Vincent Goodwill: The Bulls issue statement on former GM Rod Thorn being inducted into the Hall of Fame, saying “his imprint on the Bulls remains to this day”. Thorn drafted Michael Jordan in 1984. True words
Yahoo Sports NBA: The newest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Ray Allen, Maurice Cheeks, Tina Thompson, Charles Driesell, Charlie Scott, Rick Welts, Rod Thorn, Dino Radja, Katie Smith, Ora Mae Washington
Adrian Wojnarowski: Longtime NBA league office and team executive Rod Thorn will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 as a contributor to the game, sources tell ESPN. A formal announcement will come this weekend at the Final Four in San Antonio.
Peter Vecsey: I am hostilely undecided what I find more egregious: Colangelo’s arrogant lack of subtlety in orchestrating the admission of the boldly unworthy Nike duo on successive ballots, as opposed to legitimate basketball contributors — Pat Williams, Rod Thorn, Al Attles, Red Kerr, Harvey Pollack and Zelda Spoelstra, recipients of the ‘coveted’ John Bunn Award. Or the media’s pathetic unresponsiveness to this freakin’ farce. Think it might have something to do with many of its Hall of Fame members spending time and playing golf on the arm at the Arizona resort owned by Colangelo?
Thorn has a slightly different recollection. “Early on he told Russ he would play,” Thorn texted on Saturday. “Then later, there was a report from a golf tournament he was playing in, I think it was an amateur tournament in the Midwest, that he had changed his mind. I called him at the Tournament and he confirmed that he was going to play. After that, we always thought he was a go, regardless of various reports otherwise.”
Not only are there differences among the owners. Sources claim Rod Thorn, a longtime NBA executive who is now a consultant for the Bucks and has spearheaded the GM search with Edens, also has a differing viewpoint on whom the next Bucks GM should be. Thorn, according to several NBA officials, is pushing hard for Ed Stefanski, the vice president of player personnel for the Memphis Grizzlies who worked with Thorn in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Stefanski, in the eyes of several NBA officials who were contacted on Wednesday, is the leading candidate. Stefanski and Bucks consultant Rod Thorn, who is spearheading the Bucks’ part in the search with Edens, are longtime friends. They also held front office posts with the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
Spruell’s role is similar to the one longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn had before he stepped aside as president of basketball operations in August. He will also work with USA Basketball and FIBA to promote the game’s growth throughout the world. “As a lifelong NBA fan, I’m privileged to join the league at such an exciting time,” Spruell said in a statement. “Having watched the NBA’s continued ascendance from afar, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than a leadership role with a forward-thinking organization that embraces new technology and modern management techniques while upholding the critical principles of transparency and integrity.”
But for all his opposition to the 3-pointer, Bird sees the appeal of Stephen Currys, Klay Thompsons and Kyle Korvers. “Back when I played, we just didn’t shoot it that much,” Bird says. “Now, hell, if you’re not firing up 30 3s, you’re not playing basketball.” As the gatekeeper of the NBA game, league president of basketball operations and former team executive Rod Thorn loves the way the game is tilting. “Some from my era think there are too many 3-pointers,” Thorn says. “But the game has changed, there’s no doubt about it. The fans love the game and the way it’s being played. From our perspective, we’re very happy with what we see.”
The NBA’s review of Dwight Howard’s contact with Andrew Bogut concluded that it did not rise to the level of excessive because Howard was trying to free himself from a tie-up with Bogut, president of basketball operations Rod Thorn told CBSSports.com Tuesday. “It was a very close call as far as I’m concerned,” Thorn said. “As Bogut is holding his arm down, Howard tries to extricate his arm. He doesn’t hit him with his elbow, by the way. He hits him with the back of his hand, maybe a touch of the wrist. To me, it was unnecessary, but I didn’t think it was excessive.”
Rod Thorn, on his second run as the NBA’s president of basketball operations, plans to leave the league office and retire in August, sources told Yahoo Sports. Thorn is highly regarded around the league, a figure who commands respect among executives, coaches and players.
For the first time, the NBA All-Star Ballot presented by Sprint will feature all NBA players, NBA President, Basketball Operations Rod Thorn announced today. The NBA All-Star Ballot presented by Sprint had previously been determined by a panel of broadcasters and media members who cover the NBA, and contained 60 players from each conference. Fans will continue to select two guards and three frontcourt players when choosing the starters for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, but will now be afforded the opportunity to choose from the entire NBA player pool, as opposed to 36 frontcourt players and 24 guards per conference.
The league has gone to great pains to say that the Replay Center, which gets direct game feeds from each of the NBA’s 29 arenas, serves to supplement the referees, not do their job for them — though it has not shuttered the notion that improved technology in future years might make using the Replay Center for the final decision possible. “Our feeling was the following: The Center is not here to replace the official,” NBA Vice President of Operations Rod Thorn said Saturday. “We try to help the ref make the right call by giving him the best angle possible. His job is to call the game. At this particular time, that’s the best approach for us. But as you know, in the modern NBA, we study everything. At some point in time, if we feel there’s something that can help, then we’ll address it.”
Members of the black and Latino press are livid at the NBA for what some say are discriminatory new media rules for games. The league has quietly revoked floor access to photojournalists for smaller publications, saying there’s not enough room. Three seasons ago, the NBA allowed 40 camera positions, but this season they are now allowing just 20, 10 on each baseline. In a statement, Rod Thorn, the league’s president of operations, said the policy is about safety.
The idea to shorten the game was conceived in an off-season coaches’ meeting in Chicago. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle initially made the suggestion, according to Nets coach Lionel Hollins, the NBA jumped at the idea, and the Nets and Celtics were willing to be the test subjects. The league has no plans to try it again this season, although the D-League could be used to conduct further experiments. But even with a small sample size, the NBA hopes to get a better idea of all the potential externalities. “We’re taking a look at a lot of different things regarding our game and if we can find ways that can make it more appealing, or make it better. Then we hope that we’re able to ascertain what those things are,” said NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn, the former general manager of the New Jersey Nets.
“We have looked at everything that we do and are taking a fresh look at all the different things we do,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said. “One of the things that keeps coming up is our schedule and the length of our games. … Our coaches talked about it, and a lot of them seemed to be in favor of at least taking a look at it. We talked with our competition committee, and they were in favor of taking a look at it.” The NBA will look how a 44-minute game impacts length of the game, player-substitution patterns and flow of the game to determine if there’s a better experience. “Let’s get some empirical evidence regarding this and take a fresh look at it,” Thorn said.
Thorn says clearing the congestion behind the playing area was planned even before Indiana’s Paul George broke his right leg when he crashed into the stanchion last month during a USA Basketball exhibition game. “The conversations about this topic preceded Paul’s injury by several years,” Thorn said. “As a matter of fact, at our league meetings in July we informed our teams this was the direction we were going. But of course when an injury occurs like the one to Paul, it reaffirms the changes we have made and the need to continue to evaluate our policies.”
The “escape lanes,” the unoccupied area on either side of the stanchion to the closest photographer spot, will increase from 3 to 4 feet. Only 20 camera positions, 10 on each baseline, will remain, down from 24 last season and 40 during the 2010-11 regular season. Each baseline can have six photo spots on one side of the basket and four on the other, and dance teams or other entertainers cannot be stationed along the baseline.
The NBA is expanding the area that must be clear behind the basket and cutting the number of photographers along the baseline in an effort to improve player safety. The new regulations, calling for an extra foot of open space on both sides of the basket stanchion, were sent to teams Tuesday by league president of operations Rod Thorn and executive vice president of team marketing and business operations Amy Brooks in a memo that was obtained by The Associated Press.
New Jersey thus became the first in a long line of teams that have underestimated Korver and live with regret as he continues to improve well into his thirties. Korver’s development into a borderline star has surprised everyone, even the 33-year-old swingman, and the journey will reach its latest peak this week when he competes for one of 12 precious roster spots on the U.S. team heading to the FIBA World Cup. “We gave away a good player for summer league,” says Rod Thorn, the Nets GM at the time. “It was just one of those things we had to do. At least, that’s how I rationalized it.”
It’s never a good sign for the NBA when league officials have to be added to the postgame news conference lineup, yet there was Rod Thorn, the league’s president of basketball operations, explaining it all afterward on this most surreal of nights. “Once the game starts, it’s in the hands of the referees,” Thorn said. “Had the referees felt at any time or had I felt at any time — I was sitting the second row midcourt — were such that the game shouldn’t be continued, then they would have come over and said something to me. Never did, I never said anything to them regarding the fact that the game should be cancelled. You know, again, in live sporting events, sometimes things transpire that you don’t expect.”
Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations, issued the following statement today regarding a non-call during overtime of the Golden State Warriors’ 122-120 win over the Dallas Mavericks on April 1, at American Airlines Center: “Upon review at the league office, we have found that a shot taken by Dallas’ Monta Ellis with 16.0 seconds remaining in overtime was on the way down when initially contacted and ruled a block by Golden State’s Jermaine O’Neal, and should have been ruled a goaltend. The exact trajectory of the ball when touched was impossible to ascertain with the naked eye, and the play was not reviewable.” To view the play, click here
Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations, issued the following statement today regarding a missed call late in the fourth quarter of the Memphis Grizzlies’ 94-92 win over the Denver Nuggets on March 31, at Pepsi Center: “Upon review at the league office, we have confirmed that a free throw taken by Memphis’ Courtney Lee with 0.7 seconds remaining in the game did not touch the rim. A violation should have been called with Denver inbounding the ball with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. Since the Nuggets had no timeouts remaining, they would not have been able to advance the ball to the frontcourt.” To view the play view video
The NBA’s stance on the issue is clear. It eschews the word “tanking” and prefers not only a more palatable term but one it believes is more accurate, “rebuilding.” “When you’re talking about tanking, you’re intimating teams are losing games on purpose, and that just isn’t true,” Rod Thorn, the NBA’s president of basketball operations, told USA TODAY Sports. “Every player, every coach is trying to do everything he can to win as many games as he can and to play as well as he possibly he can, because in both instances, your livelihood depends on how you do. “We’ve got some teams every year — and it’s been that way forever — who are rebuilding, and that can manifest itself in a bunch of different ways.”
During a sit-down TrueHoop TV interview with our own Henry Abbott, Thorn was asked about the chances that a 4-pointer — as outlandish as it may seem — could be brought to the NBA at some point. In a Per Diem column last month, I advocated for the introduction of a 4-point line 28 feet away from the basket. Turns out, Thorn didn’t think the advent of a 4-pointer would be outlandish at all. Rather than reflexively squash the radical idea, as you might expect from a 72-year-old NBA lifer who has worn just about every hat in the league, Thorn seemed genuinely intrigued at the notion and revealed that the 4-pointer has “come up” in league discussions. “Oh man,” Thorn told Abbott, “Some of the players we have can shoot the ball 30 feet as easily as they can shoot 23, 24 feet.” One of those players? Vince Carter. Thorn recalled a moment when he ran the New Jersey Nets from 2000 to 2010 as team president and general manager. As players tend to do at practice, Carter would showcase his shot-making abilities from far, far away.
The NBA’s president of basketball operations, Rod Thorn, acknowledges that losing games in the name of better draft picks — commonly known as “tanking” — is “definitely a strategy” for front offices. “I don’t look at it as tanking,” Thorn told ESPN.com during an interview for TrueHoop TV record on the Friday of All-Star weekend in New Orleans. “I look at it as I don’t want to be at this level here. I may have to get worse to be good. It’s definitely a strategy and more and more teams are looking at it.” Thorn says “more and more teams are looking at” trading away players as a way to improve. “We’re not very good right now,” he says, explaining teams’ thinking, “but in a couple years we’re going to be pretty good if we get lucky in the draft.”
Meanwhile, as the GM of the New Jersey Nets, Ed Stefanski was trying to help team president Rod Thorn solve a problem. Two years after making the NBA Finals, the Nets were crumbling, and Stefanski (who later worked for the Raptors) looked north and saw an opportunity. “You hear or read that he and the coach aren’t eye-to-eye, and you pick up the phone,” he says. “There’s nothing I did that was special. You call 30 teams, but we were fortunate.” The deal went down in 24 hours. “When I mentioned the two first-round picks, they got real excited,” says Stefanski. “I got off the phone, and the next day we completed the deal.”
Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations, issued the following statement today regarding the ejection of Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin with 10:43 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ 105-103 win over the Clippers on Dec. 25, at Oracle Arena: “After a league review of the Clippers-Warriors game, we have come to the conclusion that Blake Griffin should not have been ejected from the game. A common foul should have been called on Griffin for initially attempting to dislodge the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut and a technical foul should have been assessed to Bogut for grabbing Griffin by the shirt and wrestling with him.”
Last month the N.B.A. issued 21 fines and suspensions — a punitive spree that amounted to about $602,882. If all those penalties raised some eyebrows, it was for good reason. The number of punishments in November matched the total from the first full calendar month of the previous three N.B.A. seasons combined. And that sum did not include fines for the 343 technical fouls and 21 flagrant fouls called in games last month. Those infractions bring automatic fines of $2,000 each. “Normally, you don’t have that many early in the season, then around the holiday season, you get more, then as you get down near the playoffs, you get more,” said Rod Thorn, the N.B.A.’s president for basketball operations. “This year, it’s started early.”
Nowitzki suffered a bloody nose after a collision with Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio while they were chasing a long rebound in the fourth quarter. He returned to the game with a bandage on his nose, which wasn’t exactly a fashion statement for the 16-year veteran power forward. “I don’t think it’s broke, but since it wasn’t a foul, I might get another flopping call from my boy [NBA President of Basketball Operations] Rod Thorn on Monday,” said Nowitzki, taking a playful jab at the NBA’s discipline czar. “But it’s actually a miracle my nose is so big [that] I don’t hit it more often. I try to dodge it every night that I’m out there. It’s a miracle I don’t hit it.”
Former Nets assistant and executive Rod Thorn, the current NBA President of Basketball Operations who was also on hand at Fordham Prep, said he expects Kidd to be a successful head coach. “He knows basketball, he gets instant respect from players because of who he is and what he’s done, and I think he’ll do very well,” Thorn said.
Rod Thorn: I think Jason is as smart as any player I’ve ever been around as far as understanding the game and as far as understanding what you need to do to win. That’s a plus. I think Jason gets instant respect because of who he is and he’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He also has good players on his team, and he’s got veteran players. He is going to be a terrific coach, they are going to have a really good team. You are going to go through times that are difficult and things aren’t going that well. Everybody has to learn how to do that, particularly if you’re a first time coach, but I see nothing but really good things for him. He’s a terrific guy, knows the game, and he’s going to do great.
CM: Going back to the NBA, how do you think the league has changed since you played and since you have been involved with the NBA up until now? RT: Dramatically. When I came in the league as a 2nd pick, I got a one-year contract, and I had to make the team, it wasn’t guaranteed. There was no other league to play in, nobody played overseas. Our meal money was $8 a day on the road and we traveled commercial, in coach. It was an entirely different league — not nearly as popular, not nearly what it is today. The athletes are so much better today than they were back when I came in the league. It’s much more international, we have 92 international players this year, that’s almost a quarter of the league. There were none in the league at that time I played. Now we’re watched all over the world by 215 countries, we’re popular everywhere. We weren’t even popular in the States at that time. I can recall even when Magic Johnson played, The Finals were tape delayed. They weren’t on live, and that wasn’t that long ago. This league has come an incredibly long way. With the great athletes in this league and how many good young players such as yourself we have coming into the league, I think the future is even greater.
RT: If you work for the league, you’re thinking about what’s best for the league and how you can grow the business. You’re thinking about a lot of things that may not be just happening today. You don’t care who wins or loses, but you’re thinking about the good of the league. When you work for a team, I would compare it to being in a silo. You’re more concerned with what’s in the best interest of your team and your players, and you tend to live and die with every victory and every loss. You have more instant gratification, or sometimes it’s not gratifying, if you’re with a team that’s not winning, in that there’s feedback every day. Players are getting better, players aren’t getting better; we’re winning, we’re losing. It’s more short-term as far as that goes. The league is more long-term and you don’t care who wins and losses, with a team it’s a little more short-term, and you live and die with wins and losses.
C.J. McCollum: What is your day-to-day schedule like now, being in such a position in terms of controlling the fines? Rod Thorn: I get here anywhere from 8 to 8:30 (a.m.), and we have people that work here who have a series of reports that I go through when I get in. Did we have any flagrant fouls last night? Did we have any technical fouls? Did we have any altercations, fights, anything of that nature? I’ll have a report on all of that. We want to make sure that we’re on top of everything so that’s the first thing I do when I come in. If there is an altercation anywhere, I will always get a phone call, no matter what time it is. If there is an altercation, you interview the players to see what they felt about it and you end up making whatever decision you end up making. Normally we have anywhere from three to five meetings a day on a range of subjects. We’re also involved in international here, we have 18 people that I’m responsible for that work internationally so we get reports from them, talk to them, and see what’s going on in their lives.
Q: You don’t have an assistant GM, and longtime NBA guys like Doug Collins and Rod Thorn and Tony DiLeo are now gone. Before you hired Brett Brown, who are some of the people who were helping with personnel decisions? A: We have a talented staff that’s been working real hard, behind the scenes, that people don’t see. Courtney Witte is our director of player personnel and we have scouts and we are taking note of things we’ve done personnel-wise. We will continue to look for organization people and we want ones that make good decisions.
The following is a statement from Sixers Managing Owner Josh Harris, on Rod Thorn departing to accept the President of Basketball Operations position with the NBA: “Rod proved time and again to be a valuable and respected resource to me, our ownership group and the Philadelphia 76ers, and I would like to thank him for everything he provided to our organization,” Sixers Managing Owner Josh Harris said. “We truly wish him all the best as he leaves us to embark on this new endeavor.”
Collins, who declined comment for this article, made a push for more power, for control of all player personnel decisions – which at the time was then team president Rod Thorn’s responsibility. According to sources with intimate knowledge of the situation, Collins wanted to sign center Kwame Brown to a guaranteed five-year, $30 million deal before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Harris, on Thorn’s advice, vetoed the signing. Unfortunately for the Sixers, it was revisited.
“I could see him coaching or being a GM. He can run down every guy in the league. He has a terrific eye for talent,” Kidd’s former boss, former Nets president Rod Thorn said last week when Kidd retired after 19 seasons of brilliance.
After beating Kidd and the Nets in the 2003 NBA Finals, the Spurs stayed the course on a year-long plan to sign him to a five-year, $80 million contract. His visit to San Antonio left him breathless, an elaborate and precise recruiting pitch that spared no detail on how the next five years of his career could play out. The Nets never realized how badly he wanted to be wooed until it was too late, until Jason and his then-wife, Joumana, were emailing photos from the lavishly decorate hotel suite to Nets president Rod Thorn.
Then J-Kidd showed up in East Rutherford. And instantly, the Nets went to back-to-back NBA Finals. Right, happens all the time. “I was thinking of that today,” said Rod Thorn, the man who brought Kidd to Jersey on July 18, 2001. “I remember when Larry Bird went to the Celtics, they took a huge jump up — it’s happened with a few special players. But we went from 26 wins to. . . .what, 52 as soon as Jason arrived? That’s a pretty incredible jump. And that was almost entirely Jason.”
“Some great point guards could see things develop before the rest of us could,” Thorn said. “But I can’t tell you how many times I’d watch and think, ‘How the heck did he see that guy?’ It’s like an understanding. . . .of time and space. He’d get the ball into this tiny space, one that was incredibly difficult to do” – here, the boss started to chuckle – “much less see.”
Hinkie, who had been the Rockets’ vice president of basketball operations since 2010, met with 76ers officials a year about the job, but the team ultimately promoted DiLeo to the GM role. Philadelphia president Rod Thorn is retiring this spring and assuming a consultant’s role with the organization. Doug Collins resigned as coach at season’s end.
Any worries that Doug Collins won’t be back? Rod Thorn: “Oh, we certainly hope that he will. Doug is one of the top coaches in the league and has done a terrific job here over the course of his almost three years now, and I think everybody is hoping that he will be back. That decision ultimately will be up to him.”
Are you expecting to make trades? Rod Thorn: “You never know when trades come. They can come at any time. Sometimes when you aren’t even thinking about it, somebody may call and say, ‘Hey, we’re interested in such-and-such,’ and you end up making a trade. But we’re always looking to do something. And hopefully, it will work out that we can.”
With two home games left, do you feel the Sixers should have achieved more this year? Rod Thorn: “With the (Andrew) Bynum situation, we gave up some terrific assets in order to get Andrew. And Andrew hasn’t been able to play. So I think we played about as well as we could play otherwise. I think we have done some good things. We had a bad stretch in the year. Obviously, we are finishing up here on a pretty high note. But we rolled the dice to so speak with Bynum. I think if we had Bynum, we’d be a really good team. And with him not being able to play, it’s been a tough thing for us.”
Will that be your decision or ownership’s? Rod Thorn: “Ownership obviously will have a part in it. The basketball people will make recommendations and ownership will .. and doctors will play a big part in that.” So the Sixers will need some medical reports before deciding? Rod Thorn: “Oh, for sure. Oh, yeah. You try to do your due diligence. As Andrew is a free agent, he’ll do his due diligence and try to figure out exactly where he would like to play — or he wouldn’t, as the case may be. And from our perspective we will do our due diligence and try to figure out what we should do.”
Do you have a timetable on deciding whether to bring Bynum back? Rod Thorn: “I don’t. He doesn’t become a free agent until the end of June, the first of July.” Will that be your decision to make the offer? Rod Thorn: “That decision? He is a free agent, he can go anywhere he wants to. It’s not just what we want to do, it’s what he wants to do, too.” Will the Sixers make an offer? Rod Thorn: “We’ll have to see what transpires.”
Bynum was originally diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right knee in September and with a “mirror issue” in his left knee in November, when a piece of cartilage broke loose and his joint swelled after going bowling. The Sixers expected Bynum to be ready to play in the season opener, but as the season progressed, the team and player repeatedly delayed the date of his expected debut. “It’s a little bizarre, there’s no doubt about it,” Thorn said about Bynum’s inability to get on the court. “He’s had problems. He’s worked very hard. As you can see when you see him, he’s huge. His upper body, he works in the weight room, he works hard, he just hasn’t been able to play. It’s been very tough for him and obviously it’s been very tough for us.”
Sixers president Rod Thorn called Andrew Bynum’s injury situation “bizarre” and confirmed that insurance would reimburse the organization for at least a portion of the one-time All-Star center’s $16.9 million salary this season. “There is a league-wide insurance that he’s under that gives you some relief along those lines,” Thorn said before the Sixers played the Miami Heat on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center. “It’s the same league-wide program that every player’s under. Unless you have a pre-existing condition — and he didn’t — so he’s on the same one as everybody else.”
The Sixers on Friday agreed to a deal promoting assistant GM Tony DiLeo to general mnager under president Rod Thorn, a league source told CBSSports.com. Thorn will stay in his role for the time being, and DiLeo will eventually replace him as part of the team’s previously agreed upon succession plan when Thorn retires, the source said. According to one of the people with knowledge of the matter, Ujiri mutually decided with Nuggets ownership to stay the course in Denver, where he has substantially remodeled and upgraded the Nuggets’ roster since trading Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks in February 2011. Ujiri also managed to get involved in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and earned the respect of his peers by winding up with Andre Iguodala in the deal while also moving future salary.
Speaking of Thorn, he didn’t say much about the search for his replacement. He did, however, acknowledge that vice president of basketball operations Tony DiLeo is indeed a candidate for the job. When it comes to personnel moves, Thorn always keeps everything close to the hip. Out of town and reached via phone, Thorn, who had a pretty damn good summer doing his job, indicated that there are no new candidates vying for the job. The list of candidates that have already interviewed for the job includes Boston assistant general manager Mike Zarren – he has since withdrawn his candidacy – ESPN analyst and ex-Portland Trail Blazers assistant general manager Tom Penn, and former New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower.
The 76ers have narrowed the search and appear to be leaning toward promoting assistant GM Tony DiLeo to the GM job, league sources said. The 76ers had considered former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bower, but as the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported, DiLeo has emerged as the favorite to take over for Thorn.
According to a team source, the Sixers, who have interviewed four others from outside the organization for Thorn’s position, were impressed with the role DiLeo played this summer alongside Thorn as the team rebuilt the team around center Andrew Bynum.
Rod Thorn on how they pulled off the trade for Andrew Bynum: “It’s interesting in that we’ve been talking to the Lakers and to Orlando for the last three weeks. We’ve been talking about different deals, various deals, and it never got out. In today’s world that’s something of itself. And then it really came down to, Orlando — they did not want to keep Iguodala because they’re going in a different way. And they wanted to move him, and so they talked to a few teams and they ended up making the deal with Denver to move his contract, and that ended up making the deal. It took a while to do it but it ended up getting done.”
Rod Thorn on the potential for a long-term extension for Bynum in Philadelphia: “Over the course of the season, if he’s happy and he’s healthy, we’ll certainly do everything we can do re-sign him. And we certainly are in the driver’s seat because we can give him an extra year and obviously more money. But to me, if he’s happy, he’s going to want to sign here. So I think it was a risk, anything you do there’s a risk. But if you’re going to take a risk, always take it on somebody who could be a special player.”
Rod Thorn: “Initially we were talking to Orlando about Dwight Howard. That’s how it got started. And so we had conversations with them regarding him and then he wanted to go either to Brooklyn or to Los Angeles. And so the Lakers, they had been in the conversation before we were in there. And so I can’t tell you how many different conversations, and it ended up the way it ended up today.”
According to a source the 76ers are close to inking former Portland Trail Blazers executive Tom Penn as their new general manager. Penn would replace president Rod Thorn, who is set to move to an advisory role with the team.
Sources say the Sixers’ ownership group, headed by Harris and private-equity guru David Blitzer, is expected to consider several candidates to handle the day-to-day duties under Thorn and eventually succeed him as team president. The Sixers previously interviewed former Spurs and Cavaliers exec Danny Ferry, who was later hired to the GM post in Atlanta.
“On behalf of the Philadelphia 76ers, I want to thank Elton for his contributions to our organization and city,” said Sixers President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn. “Decisions of this nature are never easy, particularly when it involves a player of Elton’s talent and character. He worked tirelessly for the overall good of the team every time he put on a Sixers uniform and we wish him nothing but the best.”
In an email Thursday night, Thorn denied there’s anything to a rumored deal in which the Sixers would acquire swingman DeMar DeRozan and point guard Jose Calderon, whose contract expires next summer, in exchange for Andre Iguodala and young big man Nikola Vucevic.