Brand's Mindset: Window to Contend for Championship is Now
About 15 hours after experiencing his first trade deadline as General Manager, Elton Brand had some fresh advice to dispense:
“I would tell parents, ‘Don’t let your kids to grow up to be general managers.’”
Brand then flashed a warm smile, delivering the tongue-in-cheek remark in lighthearted fashion.
For the bulk of his day-after-deadline press conference, the 39-year old former All-Star seemed very much at peace and satisfied with the massive haul he helped reel in.
Could you blame him?
Listen to Elton Brand's Interview on The BroadCast
Leading up to Thursday’s 3 o’clock cutoff, Brand was given a straightforward charge. Do whatever necessary to bolster the Sixers’ chances of contending for a championship.
Four deals and five new players later, the club finds itself in an even more viable position to do precisely that.
In Tobias Harris, the Sixers not only snagged another bonafide, top-line player, but a “perfect fit,” as Brand put it, for the four position in a starting line-up that already features All-Stars Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons, as well as the relentless, sharpshooting JJ Redick.
With Boban Marjanovic in the mix, the club now has a sturdy, sizable, efficient relief option for Embiid.
On top of all that, by bringing in James Ennis, Mike Scott, and Jonathon Simmons, the Sixers have further infused the roster with defensive-minded veterans.
Seasoned depth? Absolutely.
Brand’s maneuvering hit both notes. He had every reason Friday at the 76ers Training Complex to speak with measured excitement and optimistic conviction about the team’s future.
“We believe we’re in position to contend now, and our moves reflect that belief,” said Brand, less than 48 hours after putting a second blockbuster trade on his front office resume, which, by the way, is still less than five months old. “The goal was to seize the moment.”
There was no mistaking Brand’s urgent tone.
With two dynamic, sub-25 year studs in the fold, his logic at the deadline was simple. The Sixers’ current timeline demanded an intelligent, yet aggressive approach to the deadline.
Brand credited the franchise’s ownership group - led by Managing Partner Josh Harris and Co-Managing Partner David Blitzer - for providing him with ample resources and support.
“Ben Simmons, seeing his growth; Joel Embiid, seeing his growth; they’ve rapidly improved over the last season. The window is now, our opportunity is now. Once I saw that window, we discussed taking a shot at it, because who knows how long this window is going to be open?”
As recent victories over Western Conference title contenders Houston and Golden State have shown, the Sixers, when fully healthy, can compete with anyone. And those were wins that came before this past week’s personnel enhancements.
In addition to talent, Brand feels the Sixers will benefit from the intangibles gained through through their deadline deals.
“That was important, the character of the person, the character of the player, adding that to our locker room - just players who really want to win, who are good people. Great culture pieces, that’s what we wanted to add.”
Brand made it happen. He also ensured that the Sixers will have a healthy stash for future drafts by getting back two picks, including a protected first-rounder, from the Orlando Magic in the Simmons swap.
Preserving financial flexibility for yet another key off-season was important to Brand, too.
“We know we’re positioned well,” he said.
The gig may get intense, especially this time of year, as Brand noted Friday, but if a ring (s) ends up being the prize, all the stress will prove well worth it.
“The work is not done,” said Brand. “We want to bring a championship for our fans. That’s the goal.”