By Harry Allison
So, the Sixers are elevating Elton Brand to be their general manager, replacing the disgraced Bryan Colangelo, who tweeted himself into oblivion.
And the reaction from the local lame-ass media was predictable:
He has no experience.
What took them so long?
He’ll only be a front man for coach Brett Brown.
And who knows what the fool on the radio Angelo Cataldi will complain about!
True, Brand just got fast-tracked to the big leagues.
(1) Ed Stefanski had a world of experience and he drafted Evan Turner in 2010, ensuring more mediocrity for the Sixers under the awful owner Ed Snider.
BTW, in 2008 Stefanski signed Brand to a monstrous free agent contract even though he was coming off Achilles surgery, which typically takes a three-year rehab.
Brand is plenty smart and has been in and around the league since he was drafted in 1999.
(2) The Sixers talked to a handful of assistant GM’s and some actual NBA GM’s who turned them down.
(3) I have no problem with a collaboration between the scary smart Brown and Brand.
Most of the critics still bow at the alter of sociopathic Sam Hinkie, so they’ll never be satisfied.
Brand, a 17-year NBA veteran and two-time All-Star who had his best years with the Los Angeles Clippers, steps into the role after a summer-long mystery surrounding Philly’s top managerial position.
In June, then-GM Bryan Colangelo resigned after a team investigation into a report on the Ringer.com that anonymous Twitter accounts disclosing confidential information seemed to be linked to Colangelo himself.
(During the investigation, Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, admitted that it was she who had sent tweets that were critical of players and other league executives and released sensitive team details.)
After Colangelo left the team, it was unclear whether the Sixers would hire internally or go after an up-and-coming GM from another team.
Through the draft and free-agency periods, the Sixers formed a brain trust for all front-office decisions, with Brown given executive power.
Philly reportedly tried (and failed) to pry Daryl Morey away from the Rocketsin July and was linked to former Cavaliers GM David Griffin. Then they went silent.
At the end of August, Woj reported that Philly had been given permission to interview three candidates: the Rockets’ Gersson Rosas, the Jazz’s Justin Zanik, and the Warriors’ Larry Harris.
As recently as Monday, Woj reported that the Sixers would have “additional dialogue” with Rosas and Zanik the coming week. The team evidently kept it quick:
Team owners had a dinner interview Sunday with Zanik and had another one with Rosas on Monday.
Brand is an internal hire, but a bold one.
He doesn’t have a front-office pedigree, or much experience outside the past year and a half serving in various capacities for the Sixers organization.
The Sixers pushed Brand as one of its more front-facing employees:
He was the team’s representative at the 2018 draft lottery. He was on the path to becoming an NBA GM eventually. The Sixers expedited the process.
The hiring of Brand is a boon for Brown, one of the longest-standing members of the Process era in Philly.
On Tuesday morning in a press conference, Brown said that he wasn’t going to take on the dual coach-GM job, but that he was looking for “a partner.”
According to reports, the Sixers were searching for someone willing to make “collaborative decisions instead of a GM who will have the final say.” Brown’s involvement in personnel decisions will be interesting to monitor. But he’s probably right to reject the coach-GM role; there isn’t much of a recent precedent for success there.
Brand will need to manage his promising current roster, but he’ll also have the opportunity to do what his predecessors didn’t get a chance to: convince a star to come play with them.