The Sixers need to make a final decision in the matter of choosing a general manager. They don’t seem to be in any rush to make this decision, but it needs to be done. Whether that’s allowing Brett Brown to assume the duties of both the head coach and GM, or choosing a new candidate, they have to make the decision soon.
The possibility of retaining Brett Brown as the team’s GM makes a lot of Sixers fans nervous. Not because Brett hasn’t done an excellent job this offseason, but because of the track record of previous head coaches who hold the general manager duties. Brett has made several moves this offseason that prove he can be a better than serviceable GM. He made the tough decision to trade Philly-native Mikal Bridges for Zhaire Smith and a future 1st-round pick, signed JJ Redick to a reasonable contract, and acquired Wilson Chandler for cash and a 2nd-round pick (including a pick swap). The real test for Brown would come when the season started and he’d be thrust into the position of being a head coach and GM. There’s no telling whether or not he’d be able to do it until they give him a chance, but history definitely isn’t on his side. The two most recent combination coach/GMs were Doc Rivers, who’s Clippers have seen their wins decrease every year since he came on board, and Stan Van Gundy, who’s Pistons have gone from bottom dwellers to… basically still bottom dwellers.
Former Cavaliers GM, David Griffin, won a championship with Cleveland and spent 17 years with the Phoenix Suns. From 1997 to 2010, Griffin worked for Phoenix in basketball ops. The Suns reached the playoffs 11 of the 14 seasons Griffin worked in Ops, including three conference finals appearances. Griffin was then named vice president of basketball operations in 2010 and then general manager in 2014. During his time in Cleveland, he managed to hire the Euroleague Champion and Coach of the Year David Blatt as head coach, trade Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to the Wolves for Kevin Love, and sign LeBron James en route to an NBA Championship in 2016. Griffin also came in second in Executive of the Year voting for the 2014-15 season. Griffin’s experience working with such high-level talent like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving would be useful in securing Ben Simmons for the future. Kyrie asked for a trade shortly after Griffin and team owner Dan Gilbert failed to reach a contract agreement resulting in Griffin leaving the organization. David Griffin’s experience and success would be a great addition to an evolving assemblage of talent in Philadelphia.
Former Sixers player turned G-League general manager, Elton Brand, is a dark horse candidate for the general manger position in Philly. He is the current general manager of the 76ers G-League affiliate Delaware Blue Coats. His experience in the NBA as a former number one overall draft pick and two-time All-Star could prove useful in connecting with potential free agents and in contract negotiations. As someone who has gone through what these players have, he has a different perspective from the other two candidates I’ve mentioned. He only has one year of experience as a general manager at the G-League level, but if the Sixers choose to build from within Brand’s hiring wouldn’t be a shock to me.
The Sixers seem to be doing their due diligence by taking their time to choose a new GM. This is very unlike their last search when, after forcing Sam Hinkie out by way of Jerry Colangelo, the Sixers claimed to have interviewed over 70 candidates before landing on Jerry’s son Bryan. I’m glad they’re, hopefully, mulling over their options carefully, but how long is too long?