THE 76ERS ARE close to signing former Portland Trail Blazers executive Tom Penn as their new general manager, according to a source. Penn would replace president Rod Thorn, who is set to move to an advisory role with the team.

Thorn is in the last of his 3-year contract reached with then-owner Ed Snider. The contract also called for Thorn to serve another 5 years as a team adviser. It is believed Thorn will move immediately to his new role when Penn becomes GM.

Penn, who was released as vice president of basketball operations by Portland in 2010, is said to be a collective bargaining agreement guru and a master capologist. He would come into a good situation with the Sixers on that front, as the team's moves this offseason have left it with many short-term contracts.

For seven seasons (2000-2007), Penn worked for the Memphis Grizzlies, part of the time as the team's assistant general manager. He also has worked for ESPN, analyzing how the CBA and salary cap affected teams in their desire to make moves.

Penn was also a lawyer and a player agent.

The source said that Penn was in Philadelphia and that a deal could be very close.