Here’s Bondy’s word:
According to a league source, Elton Brand was targeted by Rose as a candidate for the GM Knicks. Brand, 41, is currently Sixers GM and has a contract next season, making it difficult to bring him to New York. The source said Rose wanted to see if Brand was fired after the playoffs.
Since taking office as Philly’s in 2018, Brand has attempted to build a championship contender around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. He traded for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Then, after Butler’s departure from free agency, Brand acquired Josh Richardson and Al Horford. The results are mixed. [NYDN]
The Sixers did not respond to a request for comment on the PhillyVoice story.
A team source pointed out to PhillyVoice that Brand was under contract beyond this season, and said the organization was satisfied with the way he had run the franchise since his promotion to the position in 2018, valuing his leadership and its relationships in the league (both internally and externally).
There’s a lot to unpack here, namely that the brand could be in demand as a potential GM candidate. The brand has acted decisively since taking office as GM in late 2018, but its moves to put the Sixers in a better position to fight right away have left the Sixers minimal flexibility to move from before, whether through ceiling space, mobile contracts or draft picks. And that move and jerks have yet to push the Sixers further than they were before it took over, with Philadelphia having had a disappointing season before the league suspended operations.
The brand’s real role in the past two years of activity has of course been masked by a collaborative process at the top of the organization. After Bryan Colangelo’s departure, head coach Brett Brown accepted a greater say in staff decisions in the summer of 2018, a period that saw the Sixers execute Mikal Bridges’ project rights business for Zhaire Smith and a choice, writing Landry Shamet later in the same round. Brand was hired before the start of the 2018-19 season, and managing partner Joshua Harris said at the time that Brand and Brown would report directly to the property.
Brand admits that the power structure changed after the end of last season, with Brand and Brown now in a traditional GM power structure.
“First time GM, because I learned a lot about leadership, culture, we consider that what we tolerate, what do we celebrate? Once I was a year old the conversation was hey, you did a great job in your first season where you took us, “said Brand after the 2020 deadline.” The conversation with Brett was , look at EB, that’s how it is in the league, you’ve done a lot for me and the organization, we respect it, the appropriation, we’re all aligned with it, that’s how it should be. So it wasn’t a big deal. “
This admission put Brand on the shoulders last summer (and the following disappointing season), Al Horford’s signing looms as a potential problem for the franchise.
There have certainly been victories under Brand’s leadership. He established strong relationships with the main players of the team, the emergence of Matisse Thybulle rewarded Brand’s aggressive movement to put him in the draft, and with hindsight, last year’s Sixers team was firmly into the mix to win the title if a Kawhi Leonard buzzer beater bounces differently. The brand’s overall guilt is hard to grasp in any case – the front office is still largely made up of the same Colangelo lieutenants, and the impact of ownership on decision-making should not be overlooked.
Speaking of these strong relationships, an important point raised by Bondy:
Rose worked closely with Brand at Philly because, until February, he was Embiid’s agent. Rose is also from the Philadelphia area.
Never overlook the impact of connections in a league with only 30 teams.
Another factor worth watching – would Brand be fired after the playoffs, or could it happen if they are not played at all? The brand is still under contract next season for now, and although the head coach is likely the first place the organization will turn to consider major changes this summer, poor team structure and shrinking of the mass of assets could prompt Harris and Co. to take a hard look if they should let the group that put them in the current mess get them out.
As far as I know, this is not an April Fool’s joke. And the Knicks being the Knicks, you have to consider all the possibilities as they are. For now, let’s fear that basketball will be played first again.
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