76ers

Elton Brand takes 87ers' GM job a little over a year after retiring with Sixers

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Elton Brand takes 87ers' GM job a little over a year after retiring with Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — Less than a year since retiring from 17 seasons in the NBA, Elton Brand has begun a new phase in his basketball career as general manager of the Sixers' G-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers.

“When I see these young guys move and jump and run, I was like, ‘Man, I did that only 13, 14 months ago?’” Brand said Tuesday at his introductory press conference. “It does feel like a long, long time ago.”

Brand, the No. 1 pick in the 1999 draft by the Bulls, played five seasons for the Sixers. He was a starter on the 2012 squad that reached the Eastern Conference semifinals and re-signed in January 2016 to provide veteran leadership. 

He officially stepped away from the game as a player last October and became a player development consultant in December. Brand, 38, began to see the front-office side of the game and was enticed after participating in the pre-draft combine process in May. 

“Being in those high-level meetings with Josh Harris, David Blitzer and Bryan Colangelo really piqued my interest,” Brand said. “I like this, I could really work basketball instead of playing it.”

Brand has sought advice from former players Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Malik Rose, who have transitioned into front-office roles, as well as Sixers special advisor Jerry Colangelo and his former college head coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski. Brand knows he will face challenges he did not encounter in his 1,058 NBA games. 

“It’s a totally different mindset and a totally different type of energy,” he said. “I’m discussing players and trades and the business side of it. I was exhausted yesterday. Basketball is one thing, but it was a different kind of tired. I’m looking forward to growing in that aspect.”

Brand’s familiarity with the Sixers organization will keep the Sevens closely tied to their affiliate. He plans to implement the same offensive and defensive plays as the Sixers. This symmetry will be key as more players will split their time between the NBA and G-League with the debut of two-way contracts. Brand will be tasked with deciding which league benefits the players and teams the most. Additionally, Sixers roster players such as Furkan Korkmaz are expected to be assigned to Delaware for development and reps. 

“It’s going to be high-level talent out there,” he said. 

Brand still will keep a close eye on the Sixers this season. He said he will miss being around the players he has gotten to know since he retired. Brand urged patience given the youth of the team, especially with a pair of rookie ball handlers in Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons. 

He also spent time with Joel Embiid this summer at Basketball Without Borders in South Africa and said the big man was “working his butt off.”

“I definitely feel the hype is justified,” Brand said of the Sixers. “It’s going to be a process that we will trust. But it’s going to get there. We’re going to get there for sure.”

Brand will be with the Sixers during training camp to evaluate talent and get a look at potential players. The Sevens will begin their season on Nov. 3. He is eager to prove himself in a front-office role.

"I don’t want a job because of my name," Brand said. "I want a job because of what I can bring to the table and potential. That’s why I really wanted to do it."

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, T.J. McConnell questionable

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Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, T.J. McConnell questionable

UPDATED: 2:10 P.M.

The Sixers might get some reinforcements back to help try to halt their losing streak.

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington and T.J. McConnell are listed as questionable tonight in Minnesota (9:30 p.m./NBCSP+).

Embiid (back tightness) sat out Saturday night’s loss because of load management and then was a last-minute scratch against the Pelicans Sunday. Covington (lower back contusion), who was injured diving into the stands for a loose ball against the Cavs Saturday, also missed Sunday night’s loss. McConnell suffered a sprained AC joint in the Sixers’ win over the Wizards back on Nov. 29. He came back and played 18 minutes in the team’s loss to the Lakers, but then missed the first two games of the road trip in Cleveland and New Orleans.

Embiid’s injury is not believed to be serious. The big man himself didn’t seem too concerned.

“If it was the Finals, I'm sure I could have gone,” Embiid said Sunday. “But we've got 82 games and they don't want me to push if I'm not a hundred percent, so that's what I did.”

The Sixers will look to snap a four-game losing streak — their longest of the season — against the reloaded Timberwolves (16-11). 

Best of NBA: Rockets rally past Pelicans in high-scoring affair

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Best of NBA: Rockets rally past Pelicans in high-scoring affair

HOUSTON -- Clint Capela had a career-high 28 points and James Harden scored 12 straight points for Houston in the fourth quarter as the Rockets rallied for a 130-123 victory to extend their winning streak to 10 games on Monday night.

The game was tied with about three minutes remaining after Harden made two free throws. Those were the first of seven straight points by Harden that put Houston's up 124-119 with 1:30 left.

Jrue Holiday made a basket after that, but Harden hit a 3-pointer seconds later to push the lead to 127-121. Harden stole the ball from E'Twaun Moore after a timeout by New Orleans. He was fouled and made both free throws to make it 129-121 with 34 seconds left.

After scoring 48 points in Houston's last game, Harden finished with 26 on Monday, but he tied a career-high with 17 assists, finding the 6-foot-10 Capela under the basket again and again.

Holiday had a season-high 37 points for the Pelicans. Moore had a career-high 36 points and made a career-most six 3-pointers on a night New Orleans set a franchise record with 18 3-pointers (see full recap).

Mirotic, Portis help Bulls blow out Celtics
CHICAGO -- Nikola Mirotic scored 24 points, Bobby Portis added a career-high 23 and the Chicago Bulls blew out Boston 108-85 on Monday night with Celtics star Kyrie Irving sidelined because of a bruised left quadriceps.

Owners of the NBA's worst record, the Bulls built an 18-point lead in the second quarter against the Eastern Conference leaders. And when Boston cut it to 12 in the fourth, the Bulls simply pulled away for their third straight win.

Mirotic made his first start of the season with leading scorer Lauri Markkanen sidelined because of back spasms. The 6-foot-10 forward hit 9 of 14 shots and grabbed eight rebounds in his third appearance.

Portis shot 10 of 15 and nailed all three 3-pointers.

Before Monday night, Mirotic and Portis had only made headlines together this season for the wrong reasons. Mirotic missed the first 23 games with facial fractures he suffered in a fight at practice with Portis.

Al Horford scored 15 for Boston. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier added 13 points apiece in the Celtics' most lopsided loss of the season (see full recap).

Howard, struggling Hornets roll past Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Dwight Howard scored 23 points to help the Charlotte Hornets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-103 on Monday night.

Kemba Walker had 19 points for the Hornets, who had lost seven of eight. Marvin Williams scored 18, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 17 points.

It was Charlotte's second road win of the season in 12 tries.

Russell Westbrook had 30 points and seven assists and Paul George scored 20 points for the Thunder after missing the previous two games with a right calf contusion.

Charlotte shot 53 percent from the field against one of the league's best defensive teams. The Bobcats made 13 of 25 3-point attempts (see full recap).