LOS ANGELES - Eddie Stefanski made his bones in the mortgage business, where he learned it was never a good idea to rush to judgments.
That was why he didn't initially make sweeping changes - or, really, any changes - in the Sixers' coaching and front-office staffs when he replaced Billy King as the team's president/general manager in midseason.
"My background is to not rush into anything without time to make an evaluation," Stefanski said yesterday after announcing that senior vice president/assistant general manager Tony DiLeo and director of player personnel Courtney Witte had signed contract extensions.
The new deals for both men, according to a source familiar with the situation, are believed to be for 3 years. Stefanski has yet to discuss an additional extension with coach Maurice Cheeks, although it very much remains on his to-do list.
"I knew of Tony and Courtney and respected them, but I had never worked with them," Stefanski said. "To me, coming in and making changes for the sake of making changes didn't make sense. What I found is, they're excellent evaluators of talent, they're loyal and good people and I feel very comfortable with both of them."
DiLeo has been with the Sixers for 19 seasons, working as an assistant coach, scout and director of player personnel as well as in management. He played and coached 10 seasons in Germany, coaching men's and women's teams from 1979 to '90, winning nine national titles in the top division; he was the West German federation national team coach from 1981 to '85, and that country's coach of the year in '87.
Witte, currently scouting overseas, is in his 11th season with the Sixers after 11 with the Indiana Pacers. *