Elton Brand is being introduced as the Sixers’ new general manager this morning.
Joining Brand at the table is owner Joshua Harris. Head coach Brett Brown spoke to the media for two hours at his Tuesday luncheon and is not present at this presser.
I’ll continue to update the post with bullet points and quotes from today’s availability:
- Elton is smart, hard working, and everything we’re looking for
- This is a player’s league and Elton is universally respected, he knows how players feel and react, he’s the perfect GM for today’s NBA, where relationships are paramount
- Brand will report to Harris and make decisions off court, while Brett Brown makes decisions on court
- Believes this team has an incredibly bright future, a dynamic young core, veterans, and a great coach in Brett Brown
- I know how passionate the fan base is and I understand what the expectations are, the next 12 months are very important and in the near term we’re focused on advancing further into the playoffs
The organizational structure
- Elton and Brett are partners. Both of them report to me and to ownership. We expect they will be collaborating a lot. Brett is the on- court voice and Brand is the off court voice.
- Not going after a president of basketball operations, pretty happy with the existing structure in place and we’ll put the organizational stuff behind us as we move on
- Via press release: Additionally, Alex Rucker has been elevated to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations (reported by Adrian Wojnarowski Tuesday night)
- I’ll make basketball decision recommendations to ownership, but Brett and I are aligned. When it comes to trades, draft process, I’m running that. That’s what I’ve been hired for. Brett will have a say in final decisions, as will ownership, who we report to
Here’s an exchange with Howard Eskin about who has the final say in the existing setup:
Eskin: But who has the last say?
Harris: On the court, Brett, off the court, Elton.
Eskin: Well, on the court..
Harris: So minute to minute, coaching sort of decisions will be Brett. Personnel decisions, trades, free agency, will be Elton.
Brand: First of all, thanks for the soft ball question, Howard. Basically basketball decisions, I’m going to make those. I’ll make those recommendations to ownership. Coach and I are aligned. It is a partnership. He said partnership and it is a partnership. Teams that have won in the NBA, the GM and coaches have to get along. He’s gonna have the players; when it comes to trades, draft process, I’m running that. That’s what I’ve been hired for.”
Eskin: But final say –
Brand: Final say, coach is going to have a voice in it. We’re going to discuss it. I’m going to make my recommendations to ownership, just like any other team does.
Eskin: So Josh has the final say?
Brand: On every team, ownership has a final say, especially for big, possible landscape (changes) for our organization. Every team.
Familiarity and staying in-house after the burner scandal
- Elton was the best candidate across the board, integrity is something you start and end with, if that’s not #1, you don’t do it. You don’t always get it right but all of that stuff is important.
- Analytics are important to us, but I also have years of playing experience to lean on, there’s a “human side” to all of this
When did Brand know he wanted to be a front office type after retiring?
- I’ve been studying, ownership gave me great access behind the scenes for many years
Current relationship with Brett Brown?
- It’s already a close partnership, it’s not a big deal for us to collaborate on ideas
- It’s the big picture, I’ve been encouraged with what I’ve seen. I got the job at 8 at night and stayed until 10 and guess who was here? (Fultz) has been working tirelessly to become a better player
Is this partnership new in your structure?
- It’s not new, but it’s something we’ve aspired to. There wasn’t a lot of resistance to the idea. That’s what I would say.
What was the timeline of this hire?
- For the last four months, this group has been acting as management. Trades, free agency, etc. We had some outside candidates, then they said internal candidates would get a shot, and that was an opportunity for me to step up. That happened within the past six weeks.
- we were very focused on draft and free agency through mid and late July, started interviewing after Labor Day and interviewed more than 10 people
On recruiting talent this offseason
- I don’t think not having a general manager hurt us in free agency. I think we showed well in the offseason.
A lot of players and staffers took in the press conference:
On the personality of the GM and accessibility
- I think we’re at a new point in our team’s development and we need to be attracting talent here.
- I’ll lead with honesty and integrity, won’t discuss some medical things, other team’s players because I can’t, but I’ll take the hits, that’s just what it is.
- Develop the young core, adding a third superstar. We might have a third or fourth superstar already in the building.
Lack of experience
- He has 17 years of experience as a player and you can’t discount that
- We have a great staff in place, fully confident in the group we have, and we’ve been doing this for months already, it’s not like this is the first time our group is doing this
Attracting free agents
- It’s absolutely about money, cap space, and existing talent. And we have a good coach. We have all of those things in place and I can be an add-on, to help push what we already have. But those things are key in terms of attracting free agents.
In the accompanying press release, the Sixers laid out some of the roles and duties of the other high-ranking front office members:
Having built one of the NBA’s largest and most innovative data and analytics teams, Rucker will now expand his role to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. He is responsible for overall strategy, analytics, scouting, data collection and information dissemination, the draft preparation process, and other day-to-day management operations of the basketball organization. Prior to joining the 76ers in 2016, he spent seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors as Senior Analytics Consultant. Rucker, who served in the United States Navy for 11 years, holds a law degree from the University of Notre Dame and is widely recognized across the NBA for his forward-thinking, innovative approach.Ned Cohen, Assistant General Manager, will continue to play a vital role in the front office, focusing on relationships with player agents, while also overseeing negotiations and salary cap management. He will also manage health, wellness and player performance. Similarly, Marc Eversley, Senior Vice President of Player Personnel, will play a crucial leadership role. He will contribute to a variety of basketball operations efforts and is charged with leading, planning and preparing the organization for the free agency period.