Elton Brand named Sixers general manager as search ends with in-house hire
He had been the Sixers' vice president of basketball operations and general manager of their G-League team, the Delaware Blue Coats.
The 76ers stayed in-house and hired Elton Brand as general manager on Tuesday.
Brand replaces Bryan Colangelo, who resigned as general manager and president of basketball operations in June. Brand is expected to be introduced as the new general manager during a news conference on Thursday.
The 39-year-old had been the Sixers' vice president of basketball operations and general manager of their G League team, the Delaware Blue Coats. He also had two playing stints with the Sixers, the second time in 2016 as he served as a mentor to the team's young players.
The 6-foot-8, 265-pound forward retired from playing in 2016, ending a 17-year career that started when the Chicago Bulls chose him with the first pick in the 1999 draft.
"Elton has been not only a friend, but also someone who I've looked up to for a long time," Sixers reserve guard Jerryd Bayless said. "He's been preparing for this moment, and I'm happy for him it has come sooner rather than later."
Brand goes from playing for Sixers head coach Brett Brown to being a peer to being his boss in 23 months. Brown, who served as the interim general manager, joined Sixers CEO Scott O'Neil and co-managing owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer in the interviewing and hiring process.
They have been open about hiring a general manager willing to work in collaborative decision-making instead of having the final say. Sources said that the Sixers wanted their next GM to be someone who will be a public face and win over the fans. That fits the well-respected Brand, who was regarded as one of the best locker room guys in the NBA. He's also someone players can relate to.
"How do we find continuity?" Brown said Tuesday before the news broke that Brand would become the GM. "I'm really looking for a partner. I'm really looking for a consistent partner."
Brand, however, will basically have to learn on the job. His only GM stint came from his one year in charge of the Blue Coats. But the Sixers always said experience wasn't a prerequisite. They just wanted to hire someone to fit in with the people already in the front office.
There was a sense around the league that the Sixers would hire from within despite interviewing outside candidates. The ownership group hired scouts and gave front-office personnel new titles and extensions without a permanent general manager on the job. Incoming general managers typically like to bring in their own people, not take a job where a staff is already in place.
In addition to promoting Brand, the Sixers elevated Alex Rucker to executive vice president of basketball operations on Tuesday. Rucker was the senior vice president of analytics and strategy. He's second in command in the Sixers front office followed by Ned Cohen, then Marc Eversley. Cohen is the assistant general manager,while Eversley is the senior vice president of player personnel.
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The ownership group conducted second interviews with Utah Jazz assistant general manager Justin Zanik on Sunday and Houston Rockets vice president Gersson Rosas on Monday. But on Tuesday, the Sixers hired Brand and there's no complaints from the players.
"Since we were teammates, I have always been so impressed with EB's work ethic and professionalism," reserve point guard T. J. McConnell said. "I'm really happy for him, and I know he'll carry those same traits into his new job."