Delaware 87ers

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."

Sixers name Elton Brand GM of G-League's Delaware 87ers

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Sixers name Elton Brand GM of G-League's Delaware 87ers

Updated: 5:30 p.m.

Elton Brand, future NBA general manager?

If that's the career path he wants to take, he took his next step in that direction on Monday.

Brand was named the GM of the Sixers' G-League (formerly the NBA D-League) affiliate, the Delaware 87ers.

“We are thrilled that Elton has agreed to take on the GM position of the Sevens, a natural next step given both his personal and professional skill set,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement released by the team. “The transition from a terrific playing career to team management was something that we have been talking about for some time and this opportunity is both timely and appropriate. I look forward to working side-by-side with Elton as we continue to grow and develop our overall basketball program.”

The opening was created after former Sixers VP of basketball administration Brandon Williams, who also served as the 87ers' GM, recently left to take the assistant GM job with the Sacramento Kings.

The G-League GM role will have added emphasis this year as the NBA now has two-way contracts between G-League clubs and the NBA clubs. The Sixers over the weekend signed James Michael McAdoo, formerly of the Golden State Warriors, to a two-way contract.

Following his retirement from the NBA in 2016 after playing one final season with the Sixers, Brand stayed home with the organization as he was a player development consultant on Brett Brown's bench last season.

“I’m extremely excited to begin a new role as general manager of the 87ers,” Brand said. “I want to thank Josh Harris, David Blitzer, Bryan Colangelo and staff for the opportunity to develop, cultivate and elevate talent in our program. I look forward to building upon the successes the Sevens have had both on the court and in the community in Delaware.”

A first overall pick out of Duke by the Chicago Bulls in 1999, Brand, a two-time All-Star, played 17 NBA seasons, five which came with the Sixers from 2008-2012 and then from 2015-2016.

Brand announced his retirement from the NBA on Oct. 20, 2016.

Shawn Long surprised to receive 10-day contract from Sixers

Shawn Long surprised to receive 10-day contract from Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Shawn Long thought he was coming to the Sixers training complex on Monday morning for a workout.

Imagine his surprise when the big man found out he was being called up from the Delaware 87ers and signing a 10-day contract.

"It still hasn't settled in yet,” Long said after going through shootaround.

The Sixers used an NBA injury exception to sign Long for their depleted frontcourt. They have four injured players (Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Jerryd Bayless, Tiago Splitter) who are out for at least the following two weeks.

"Right now [I am] a five, a stretch five,” Long said. "I'm still working on my shot, trying to be more consistent on the pro level. Rebounding the ball hard, that's something I really want to focus in on … playing hard and bringing that toughness to the game." 

Long went through summer league and training camp with the Sixers. He joined their Development League affiliate after being waived. 

Long was averaging 20.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 29.5 minutes per game for the 87ers. He was selected to the D-League All-Star game. 

Long said he has learned about "respecting the grind" of the season and is ready to jump into an NBA setting. 

"I think I've adjusted to the physicality of the pro game," he said. "That's something that was tough for me at first."

There is a good chance Long sees playing time Monday night against the Bucks. Jahlil Okafor is doubtful because of right knee soreness. That leaves Richaun Holmes as the only true center, and he is listed as probable (right hamstring tightness). 

"It's a big opportunity for me and I'm looking to capitalize on it," Long said. 

Okafor participated in parts of shootaround on Monday. He received treatment on Sunday, which included work in the pool and activation exercises. Gerald Henderson (left hip soreness) also is probable after going through partial shootaround.