Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown confident team will hire new GM before season

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers will hire a general manager to replace Bryan Colangelo before the start of the season, coach Brett Brown said Tuesday.

Colangelo resigned in June as the 76ers’ president of basketball operations after what an investigation concluded was “careless and in some instances reckless” sharing of sensitive team information on Twitter.

Brown took the GM role on an interim basis, and the search for a new general manager has only recently heated up. Brown, entering his sixth season, said he had no interest in holding both jobs.

“That is my expectation, that we will have a general manager before the season starts,” Brown said. “This is not something that interests me. I do not believe in the role that I have as a head coach that it’s tenable. … We will have, to the best of my knowledge, a general manager appointed, announced by the start of the season. And it’s not me. It was never going to be.”

The Sixers have reportedly interviewed Utah Jazz assistant general manager Justin Zanik and Houston Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas and have also talked to internal candidates including assistant GM Ned Cohen, player personnel executive Marc Eversley and vice president of basketball operations Elton Brand.

“I think I know what’s going to happen,” Brown said. “But in relation to declaring something, I can’t do that today.”

The Sixers won 52 games last season and beat Miami in the first round of the playoffs before they were eliminated in the conference semis by Boston. Under Brown’s watch, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have blossomed into two of the top young players in the league.

The Sixers were rocked when an independent review found that Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, operated four Twitter accounts it investigated, and she admitted using private information to criticize the Sixers and rival colleagues.

Expected to become major players in free agency, the Sixers mostly sat the summer out.

Colangelo and his predecessor Sam Hinkie, who hired Brown, had the final say in player personnel decisions. While the power structure hasn’t yet been drawn up because of the GM uncertainty, Brown said with this hire he’s looking “for a partner” in having the final say.

“I do have a voice. I’ve always had a voice here,” Brown said. “I think as the head coach, it should be that, to a point. I get the role of the general manager.”

Brown said losing Colangelo was a “game-changer” but said his absence or lack of a general manager had nothing to do with the Sixers striking out in their bid to land LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, a lower-tier free agent – or anyone beyond a couple of modest pickups such as Wilson Chandler.

“I think we would all be naive to think free agents choose a basketball program because of a general manager,” Brown said. “They come because of Joel and Ben. And I hope the coach has got a little bit to do with it.”

He added: “The general manager situation had zero to do with us not being able to acquire one of those talents.”

Brown, who took the 76ers from 10 wins to the third seed in the Eastern Conference in just two seasons, agreed in May to a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2021-2022 season.