After an extremely disappointing 2019-20 season that saw them fall short of any and all expectations, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to part ways with head coach Brett Brown. In addition to Brown, there was some speculation that general manager Elton Brand’s job could also be in jeopardy, as Brand was the person largely responsible for constructing the team’s ill-fitting roster.
That’s not the case though. The team is sticking with Brand, as ownership has basically tasked him with cleaning up the mess that he helped to create. In fact, the former All-Star could be in line for an extension, and he met with ownership earlier this week to discuss a new contract, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. But Brand remaining in his role doesn’t mean that other changes aren’t coming to the front office, as the team is looking to bolster the decision-making team around him.
Brand has been given credit publicly for most of the Sixers’ key decisions since he was named GM two years ago. But the owners and other front-office people have been more deeply involved than the team has admitted.
Still, he met with the team’s ownership on Monday to discuss a new contract, according to multiple sources. Sources added Brand was expecting to get a three- or four-year deal.
The 41-year-old did not respond to The Inquirer’s multiple inquiries about the meeting. But several sources believes he’s in line to get a contract due to being on the front line taking the hits for the organization. Something also happened after Monday’s meeting that would lead you to believe that Brand will remain in place. Word leaked that the Sixers were intent on adding front-office talent under him. That came after multiple league sources had said the team was inquiring about the possibility of hiring a president of basketball operations.
“We under-performed. I felt it was time for a new voice, a new perspective,” Brand said. “We’ll begin a search for a new head coach immediately. I’ll also be conducting an evaluation of the front office and that infrastructure… I feel like we need to strengthen our organization from top to bottom. That starts with the front office also, balancing out our strengths with analytics and strategy with more basketball minds.”
Given the recent failures of the front office, the job security of those involved in the personnel decisions for the team should be called into question. Brand is safe, as he remains well-respected by his peers across the league’s landscape, but what about those directly under him? Executive vice president of basketball operations Alex Rucker and assistant general manager Ned Cohen are holdovers from the Bryan Colangelo era, and at this point it’s fair to wonder if either should remain with the franchise moving forward.
Brand was named Philadelphia’s general manager in September of 2018 following Colangelo’s resignation, and his current contract runs through the 2020-21 season. Since taking over the role, Brand has overseen numerous overhauls of Philadelphia’s roster. In November 2018, Brand acquired Jimmy Butler, who left the franchise last summer. Brand also brought in big names like Al Horford, Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris.
Given the team’s failures this season, the timing for an extension for Brand seems odd. One would think that ownership would want to see how he improves Philadelphia’s roster for next season before committing long-term. However, perhaps they are just looking to establish some consistency from the top down — something that they haven’t had much of recently given the fact that Brand is the team’s third GM since 2013.
Courtesy: CBS Sports