The Sixers’ GM wants to extend his tenure in Philadelphia.
The Sixers’ 2019-20 season was memorable for all the wrong reasons. To the extent that, frankly, it wasn’t all that memorable. In a year that was supposed to be Philadelphia’s arrival on the big stage, the Sixers instead limped to sixth place and a first-round exit.
Brett Brown was fired. The players underwent scrutiny. And now it’s time to put pressure on the front office, where the bulk of the blame should (and does) lie. The Sixers failed because of roster construction. Because the pieces don’t fit, and because the foundation upon which the franchise is built faltered.
All season, we read reports of Philadelphia’s murky decision-making chain. This summer, we have been made privy to reports of the multitude of voices in a crowded and ineffective front office. The Sixers have promised to make changes — change that needs to come sooner than later — but one position will not change. Elton Brand is the GM, and he’s safe in his role.
The Sixers might hire people above and below Brand, but the former All-Star will maintain his role as Philadelphia’s front office figurehead. And, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Brand is looking to cement his place in the Sixers’ hierarchy long-term.
“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.”
I have made my opinion on this issue known. The Sixers should fire Brand and everyone under him, but such a reality will not exist. At least not this offseason. Philadelphia is committed to allowing Brand to right his wrongs, and to prove himself with more consolidated power.
No matter how poorly the Sixers’ front office has been managed in recent years, it seems absolutely foolish to even consider extending Brand. The Sixers, in the span of two years, went from up-and-coming to borderline insignificant. The Sixers might have slammed their championship window closed before it was ever really open. No matter how many voices were in that room, Brand was on top. And he deserves that level of criticism.
The Sixers’ front office, with the power of hindsight and fewer competing perspectives, could improve in functionality moving forward. There’s a chance Brand isn’t as bad a GM as last season would suggest. But even so, he’s clearly not a great GM. The Sixers are at a point where cleaning house makes more sense than restructuring.
Here’s another interesting tidbit from Pompey.
“…several sources believe 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.”
The idea that Brand deserves a contract because he has “taken hits” for the organization is a strange twist of the narrative. Brand has taken hits due to decisions he rubber-stamped. The Sixers have been an object of constant criticism because of egregious mismanagement. Ownership is largely to blame, of course, but it’s a bit disappointing that Brand deflecting blame from ownership is probably why ownership will keep him around.
Philadelphia has made it clear over the past five years that loyalty is rewarded. New thinking is less important than supporting the collective. For all the change that was promised, Philadelphia has done next to nothing so far. The NBA Draft is under two months away. The outlook is not great.
Brand will probably get that extension. It’s only a matter of time. Now, with no more “collaboration to hide behind,” he should be held strictly accountable for future failures. Future failures that, unfortunately, feel more likely than future successes at this point.