The 76ers face a lot of important issues before the yet-to-be determined free agency period.
They’re in the process of reshuffling their front office, making assistant coaching hires, evaluating draft prospects, looking for trade possibilities and affordable free-agent targets. Yep, there’s a lot on the Sixers' plate.
It turns out that they are about to solve some of their biggest issues with the hiring of Indiana Pacers senior vice president Peter Dinwiddie and Orlando Magic director of scouting Prosper Karangwa for the front office.
Dinwiddie will come in as the executive vice president of basketball operations. That title was held by Alex Rucker. In August, the expectation was that Rucker wouldn’t return next season. Rucker is being re-signed and is likely to focus on analytics. He’ll be more of an information-gatherer as opposed to a decision-maker.
Meanwhile, Karangwa will serve as the vice president of player personnel. Ned Cohen will remain as assistant general manager.
Sources said the team had advanced discussions with Dinwiddie and Karangwa about those positions this week.
One source noted that Dinwiddie was no longer listed on the Pacers' group emails or Zoom calls. Another source said word in Orlando is that Karangwa is set to join the Sixers.
However, you didn’t hear Dinwiddie, Karangwa or the Sixers, for that matter, talk publicly about it this week.
It was understandable to see why both sides have been apprehensive to announce the expected moves. There has been at least once incident during this search when a candidate was expected to take the job only to have talks break off due to snag in the process.
But sources have said they’ll be in the front office working with general manager Elton Brand.
The team has said it is looking to add an executive who would rank below Brand. That word came after multiple league sources said the team had been inquiring about the possibility of hiring a president of basketball operations.
Dinwiddie was third in the pecking order in Indiana under president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and GM Chad Buchanan. The Indianapolis native, who received a law degree from New England Law-Boston in 2004, has been with the Pacers since being hired in the ticket department in 2006.
He’s well-respected within the organization and the league.
Dinwiddie deals with the salary cap, contracts and corresponds with people around the league. He’s known for being smart and honest. Sources have said Sixers employees will enjoy working with him.
Karangwa, who is from Burundi, played at Siena College then professionally for six seasons overseas. Following his career, he became the founder and CEO of Global Scouting Service, LLC, in 2010. The Magic hired him as a scout in 2012. He has since been promoted to the director of college scouting and the overall director of scouting.
Like Dinwiddie, sources have said, he’s well-liked. He also has an eye for talent and speaks five languages.
The Sixers evaluated their front-office structure and personnel after being swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The team’s front office relied on analytics to make draft picks, trades, and free-agent signings that it turns out have set the franchise back.
On Thursday, multiple sources said the Sixers and their vice president of strategy, Sergi Oliva, have parted ways. Oliva will remain in the NBA, though, as he has accepted a coaching position with the Utah Jazz.
On Wednesday, Phil Jabour left his post as the Sixers director of scouting to become the Sacramento Kings vice president of player personnel.
Oliva, Rucker, and Cohen had a hand in the Sixers’ decision-making. Oliva had a lot to do with determining the team’s rotation and substitution patterns based on the analytics. He was an integral part of the coaching meetings, and presented the coaches with an analytics sheet to consult during games.
Rucker had been heavily involved behind the scenes in a lot of the decision-making, according to sources. The Sixers originally hired him as vice president of analytics and strategy in 2016 after seven years as the Toronto Raptors' senior analytics consultant.
The Sixers addressed one of the biggest needs on Oct. 1 with the hiring of Doc Rivers to fill their head-coaching vacancy. Then Rivers made a splash Thursday with his first assistant coaching hire. He added Dave Joerger, who had head-coaching stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.
The Sixers also need to decide what to do with the 21st pick in the Nov. 18 draft. And they must find a way to balance their roster.