The Philadelphia 76ers hired Elton Brand as general manager on Tuesday, completing a meteoric rise in the franchise’s front office, league sources told ESPN.
Brand made a strong impression on ownership and coach Brett Brown in the interview process, beating out several more-experienced candidates inside and outside the Sixers organization, sources said. Ultimately, ownership believed Brand had sold them on vision, preparedness and the ability to grow into the role at a crucial time for the organization.
Brand, 39, had been recently promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations after serving the past year as GM of the Sixers’ G League affiliate in Delaware.
After retiring as a player in 2016, he spent two years in the organization before this elevation to oversee the front office.
The team also talked to internal candidates, including assistant GM Ned Cohen and senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley.
Brand replaces Brown, who had been the interim GM since Bryan Colangelo resigned in June after his wife admitted to operating Twitter accounts that criticized team members and propped up her husband.
The Sixers elevated Alex Rucker to executive vice president of basketball operations, and Cohen and Eversley will remain in their current positions with recent promotions, sources said. Rucker takes on an increased role with analytics and strategy in his promotion.
The Sixers had become enamored with the idea of keeping the chemistry of this front-office group together, and they probed outside candidates about how they thought that dynamic would work with a new leader.
The Sixers, who won 52 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals a season ago, return a core that includes All-Star Joel Embiid and Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons. They are determined to use max salary space for a star complement to those young players next summer in free agency.
He signed a five-year, $82 million free-agent deal with Philadelphia in 2008, but his tenure with the Sixers was marred by injury. He returned to Philadelphia in 2015 as a player, retiring there in 2016.