Report: 76ers to promote ex-center Brand to GM role

September 19, 2018 - 10:09 AM
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Elton Brand while playing for Duke University. (Photo from his Facebook page)

The Philadelphia 76ers will name former on-court star Elton Brand to fill the team’s vacant general manager role, ESPN reported Tuesday.

NBA sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Brand, who had two separate stints for the Sixers in his 17-year playing career, will be promoted from his current position as the team’s vice president of basketball operations.

Per the report, Brand will be announced as the new GM at a team press conference on Thursday.

Wojnarowski said that Brand, 39, impressed both team ownership and head coach Brett Brown during the team’s extended interview process, one that raised eyebrows around the league for lasting months past the NBA draft in June as well as the start of free agency in July.

Brand beat out several reported candidates who interviewed, both internally and externally. Last month the Sixers reportedly interviewed Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris, Utah Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik and Houston Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas. Other in-house candidates reportedly included 76ers assistant GM Ned Cohen and player personnel exec Marc Eversley.

The choice of Brand to handle the team’s GM duties marks a bit of a surprise, but it will cap a turbulent offseason for the up-and-coming 76ers, who leapt from just 10 wins two seasons ago to 52 this past season. Brown has served as the interim GM since Bryan Colangelo was dismissed in June on the heels of a controversy surrounding Twitter burner accounts used to critique players and share privileged information.

After public reports of the Sixers being rebuffed in efforts to bring other high-profile personnel executives, such as Houston GM Daryl Morey and San Antonio GM R.C. Buford, the team seemed to be digging in for a much longer selection process that would last into the regular season. Brown told local reporters this summer that the team was interested in hiring a more “collaborative” GM instead of giving complete and final say in personnel decisions to one person.

“There are a very small number of elite sitting GMs and they’re generally under contract with teams for a long time,” Sixers managing partner Josh Harris told ESPN last month. “We’re going to have a pretty selective list. This is not going to be huge tournament. We’re going to talk to some people who aren’t sitting GMs who could add value to our situation.”

Brand also had been serving as GM of the Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers’ G League affiliate. He retired for good from his playing career in 2016 after playing 17 games with the 76ers in his second go-around with the team.

Brand, the former Duke star and No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, was a 20 points-per-game scorer six times in his career and averaged a double-double in points and rebounds on six occasions. The two-time All-Star finished with career averages of 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in mostly starring roles with the Chicago Bulls (1999-2001), Los Angeles Clippers (2001-08) the 76ers (2008-12, 2016), Dallas Mavericks (2012-13) and Atlanta Hawks (2013-15).

In addition to tabbing Brand as the team’s GM, the 76ers also reportedly plan to promote Alex Rucker to executive vice president ofbasketball operations. Cohen and Eversley will retain their roles, sources told Wojnarowski.

—Field Level Media