Rod Thorn, Senior Advisor to the General Manager
Rod Thorn begins his first season as Senior Advisor to the General Manager and brings over 40 years of front office experience. In this role, Thorn will consult with Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard on decisions, including personnel, free agency and the draft. The former Baltimore Bullet was originally drafted by the franchise with the second overall pick in 1963 NBA Draft and enjoyed a nine-year playing career.
An NBA veteran of more than four decades, Thorn was named the president of the Philadelphia 76ers on August 12, 2010. He spent the past 10 seasons as president of the New Jersey Nets before resigning on July 15, 2010.
Thorn, the 2001-02 NBA Executive of the Year, joined the Nets on June 27, 2000. During his tenure in East Rutherford, the Nets captured four Atlantic Division titles in a five-season span, including back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships in 2002 and 2003.
Back in June of 2001, Thorn engineered two major deals which helped catapult New Jersey into the league's upper echelon. He traded the rights to Eddie Griffin, the seventh overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft to the Houston Rockets in exchange for their three first round picks from that same draft, Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong. The next day, Thorn negotiated a blockbuster six-player trade with Phoenix that landed New Jersey three-time First Team All-NBA guard Jason Kidd in exchange for Stephon Marbury.
Prior to joining the Nets, Thorn spent 14 years working for the NBA league office in Manhattan, where he was the NBA's Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. At the league office, Thorn oversaw all on-court operations, including officiating, game conduct and discipline.
Thorn also served as chair of the Senior Men's Basketball Committee for USA Basketball from 1992 through 2000. He was also a member of the select NBA Rules Committee which formed in March of 2001 and was chaired by Jerry Colangelo, CEO of the Phoenix Suns. That committee advised the NBA's Board of Governors on changes in the league's playing rules including the elimination of illegal defense guidelines, the institution of a new defensive three-second rule, eight seconds instead of 10 to advance the ball past midcourt and the elimination of incidental contact if it does not impede the progress of the player with the ball.
In 1978, Thorn began a seven-year stint as general manager of the Chicago Bulls, which included drafting Michael Jordan in 1984. During his tenure with Chicago, Thorn was also the interim head coach for 30 games in 1982.
Thorn was the second overall pick in the 1963 NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets. After one season in Baltimore, he spent a season and a half in both Detroit and St. Louis before finishing his career in Seattle. In 466 career games played, Thorn averaged 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
Following the conclusion of his NBA playing career in 1970-71, Thorn joined Lenny Wilkens' coaching staff in Seattle. In 1973-74, he was an assistant coach for the ABA Nets and helped lead Julius Erving and company to their first-ever ABA Championship. Two years later, he became head coach of the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis. In 1976, Thorn was named an assistant coach with the Nets when they moved into the NBA.
A graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. in political science, Thorn also holds an honorary degree from West Virginia University and served on the school's Board of Directors for five years. Thorn was an All-American guard at West Virginia, following in the footsteps of Jerry West and Rod Hundley.
Thorn and his wife, Peggy, have a son, Jonathan, and twin daughters, Amanda and Jessica.