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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers announced their brand new general manager on Thursday and it’s a face fans will certainly recognize.
Elton Brand is taking over the vacant position held last by Bryan Colangelo, who resigned in June as the team’s president of basketball operations after what an investigation concluded was “careless and in some instances reckless” sharing of sensitive team information on Twitter.
In a news conference, Brand laid out his plans for the team.
“The goal is to bring a championship to these fans in Philadelphia. I’m committed to doing everything in my power to leading the team to that goal,” said Brand. “In the near-term, we’ll focus on advancing deeper into the playoffs. In the long-term, we’ll be strategic and thoughtful in developing our young core and accelerating this team’s championship DNA.”
Brand had worked for the Sixers as vice president of operations and also served as the general manager of the Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers’ G League affiliate.
Brand was the No. 1 pick of the 1999 draft by the Chicago Bulls and played two stints with the Sixers.
Sixers coach Brett Brown had served as Philadelphia’s interim GM and said Tuesday he wasn’t interested in holding both jobs.
“This is not something that interests me. I do not believe in the role that I have as a head coach that it’s tenable,” Brown said. “We will have, to the best of my knowledge, a general manager appointed, announced by the start of the season. And it’s not me. It was never going to be.”
Brand played in 1,058 career games over 18 seasons with the Bulls, the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas, Atlanta and the Sixers. He posted career averages of 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks per game. A two-time All-Star and the 2000 rookie of the year, Brand was also the recipient of the 2005-06 Joe Dumars Trophy, presented each season to the player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.
The person familiar with the decisions also said Ned Cohen will remain assistant general manager and Marc Eversley will stay as senior vice president of player personnel. They both interviewed for the GM job. Alex Rucker was promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations.
The Sixers won 52 games last season and beat Miami in the first round of the playoffs before they were eliminated in the conference semifinals by Boston. Under Brown’s watch, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have blossomed into two of the top young players in the league.
The Sixers were rocked when an independent review found that Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, operated four Twitter accounts it investigated, and she admitted using private information to criticize the Sixers and rival colleagues.
Colangelo and his predecessor Sam Hinkie, who hired Brown, had the final say in player personnel decisions. Brown said he was looking “for a partner” in personnel moves with the new GM.
“I do have a voice. I’ve always had a voice here,” Brown said. “I think as the head coach, it should be that, to a point. I get the role of the general manager.”
Brown said losing Colangelo was a “game-changer” but said his absence or lack of a general manager had nothing to do with the Sixers striking out in their bid to land LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, a lower-tier free agent — or anyone beyond a couple of modest pickups such as Wilson Chandler.
“I think we would all be naive to think free agents choose a basketball program because of a general manager,” Brown said. “They come because of Joel and Ben. And I hope the coach has got a little bit to do with it.”
He added: “The general manager situation had zero to do with us not being able to acquire one of those talents.”
Brown, who took the 76ers from 10 wins to the third seed in the Eastern Conference in just two seasons, agreed in May to a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2021-2022 season.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)