Elton Brand is in charge of the Philadelphia 76ers.
According to multiple media reports, the Sixers have made Brand their new general manager, replacing Bryan Colangelo. 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.
Brand is expected to be introduced at a news conference on Thursday.
ESPN story on Elton Brand completing meteoric rise in Sixers front office to general manager. https://t.co/pekzOL9U6q
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 18, 2018
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) September 19, 2018
Brand had worked for the Sixers as vice president of operations and also served as the general manager of the Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers’ G League affiliate.
Brand was the No. 1 pick of the 1999 draft by the Chicago Bulls and played two stints with the Sixers.
Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Brand’s move into the GM role is a popular one with Sixers players:
“Elton has been not only a friend, but also someone who I’ve looked up to for a long time,” Sixers reserve guard Jerryd Bayless said. “He’s been preparing for this moment, and I’m happy for him it has come sooner rather than later.”
In addition to promoting Brand, the Sixers elevated Alex Rucker to executive vice president of basketball operations on Tuesday. Rucker was the senior vice president of analytics and strategy. He’s second in command in the Sixers front office followed by Ned Cohen, then Marc Eversley. Cohen is the assistant general manager,while Eversley is the senior vice president of player personnel.
The ownership group conducted second interviews with Utah Jazz assistant general manager Justin Zanik on Sunday and Houston Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas on Monday. But on Tuesday, the Sixers hired Brand and there’s no complaints from the players.
“Since we were teammates, I have always been so impressed with EB’s work ethic and professionalism,” reserve point guard T. J. McConnell said. “I’m really happy for him, and I know he’ll carry those same traits into his new job.”
Sixers coach Brett Brown had served as Philadelphia’s interim GM and said earlier Tuesday he wasn’t interested in holding both jobs. Brown pledged the Sixers would name a general manager before the season started.
“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,” Brown said. “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.”
Hours later, the Sixers had their guy.
Brand played in 1,058 career games over 18 seasons with the Bulls, the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas, Atlanta and the Sixers. He posted career averages of 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks per game. A two-time All-Star and the 2000 rookie of the year, Brand was also the recipient of the 2005-06 Joe Dumars Trophy, presented each season to the player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.
The Sixers won 52 games last season and beat Miami in the first round of the playoffs before they were eliminated in the conference semifinals 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.
Colangelo and his predecessor Sam Hinkie, who hired Brown, had the final say in player personnel decisions. Brown said he was looking “for a partner” in personnel moves with the new GM.
“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.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.