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September 24, 2020

Sixers front office search focused on hiring underneath GM Elton Brand

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Elton-Brand_050520_usat Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand.

As they attempt to restructure their front office this offseason, the Sixers are currently focused on making executive hires underneath GM Elton Brand, who has been the team’s point man during their coaching search, sources tell PhillyVoice.

Rumors have swirled about what the front office could look like moving forward, with names like Houston’s Daryl Morey floated as moonshot candidates for a theoretical President of Basketball Ops position.

While team sources would not completely rule out the possibility of a hire above Brand, they emphasized the franchise was primarily concerned with building out a staff under Brand, who seems to have emerged with the best reputation on the other side of two disjointed years of roster moves.

What the staff looks like around him is ultimately still in flux. EVP of Basketball Ops Alex Rucker, for example, has had his name floated on several occasions as a potential victim of the chopping block. But ultimately it sounds like individual staff decisions will hinge on external candidates they attempt to lure to Philadelphia. The door is still open for a variety of possibilities, sources say, ranging from staffers being let go to being shifted into new roles in the new look front office. Final decisions will not be made until the team figures out who is being added.

(Worth noting here: there is incentive on Philadelphia’s end to misdirect and mislead as it pertains to potential hires, especially in the case of executives who are under contract elsewhere. Firm as the messaging has been coming out of the organization, anything can change if the right person is available for the right price.)

The only person set in stone at this point appears to be Brand, who is in the process of discussing his contractual future with the Sixers, as Keith Pompey of the Inquirer reported Wednesday evening.

During his season-ending press conference in late August, Brand gave the only public clue we’ve received about what he thinks is missing in the front office, emphasizing the need for more “basketball minds” on several occasions.

"As I've been taking a deep dive in where we failed, what went wrong, and how we can get better, I felt like we need to strengthen our organization from top to bottom, and that starts with the front office," Brand said. "Balancing our strengths in analytics and basketball strategy with more basketball minds, and whatever happens. My goal, with whatever happens going forward, is making sure we are in position to truly contend."

Two Eastern Conference executives who spoke to PhillyVoice on the condition of anonymity viewed this as an attempt to pin the responsibility for Philadelphia's missteps on Rucker specifically, as Brand attempts to move forward as the leader of the organization.

As they sort out the power in Philly, questions have emerged about ownership’s involvement in the search for a head coach. To that end, it was made clear on the Sixers’ side of things that Brand was and is the man running point on the team’s head coaching search, a fact confirmed by league sources familiar with the situation.

Philadelphia ownership has not and was not expected to meet with coaching candidates previously, but the expectation was that they will do so over the next week, a team source told PhillyVoice. Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue remain the favorites for the open position.

Local sentiment regarding Philadelphia's ownership has never been worse, but their reputation seems to be a bit better around the league. While inquiring about how outside candidates view ownership over the past few weeks, league sources have emphasized to PhillyVoice they believe the Sixers’ owners are committed to doing what it takes to win.

Regardless of how it all shakes out, bunker down for a lot of rumors and a long offseason. This could take longer than many fans hope, and with league-wide uncertainty about the NBA’s short-term outlook, change will be a slow and steady process


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