Elton Brand

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.

Chance for Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless to form PG chemistry on Sixers' road trip

Chance for Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless to form PG chemistry on Sixers' road trip

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Neither Ben Simmons nor Jerryd Bayless will suit up this season, but Brett Brown feels it is equally important for them as it is for active players to be with the team on the road on this West Coast swing. 

The 6-foot-10 rookie and the 6-foot-3 veteran, while opposite on paper, are going to be closely tied together in the Sixers' system next season if all goes as planned.

Brown intends to start Simmons at the one-spot. That's the same position as Bayless. Looking ahead, Bayless could either sub for Simmons or share the court with Simmons because of his ability as a combo-guard. 

"I've made it quite public I want to try Ben at point guard," Brown said. "With that, I don't see Ben guarding point guards. So here comes Jerryd. He's got that ability. I see those two existing quite well."

The Sixers signed Bayless to a three-year deal last offseason. He fit the criteria for a guard to play alongside Simmons in an untraditional system. The pair didn't get the chance to play together beyond a short stint during training camp. Simmons fractured his right foot in the final scrimmage. Bayless suffered a left wrist injury early in camp. He had his cast removed this week after three months. 

Brown hopes that what chemistry Bayless and Simmons can't yet form on the court, they can create by spending time with one another during shootarounds, practices and traveling. 

"In one sense you have a rookie that hasn't played a second," Brown said. "In the other sense, you've got our version of a veteran in Jerryd that can share other stories and join in that type of conversation that I really want to have with my players."

Bayless isn't the only experienced voice on the road. Former Sixer Elton Brand, who was hired as a player development consultant after retirement, also is with the team for this trip. Brown sees Brand's 17 years of NBA experience as an invaluable resource the Sixers still can tap into even though he is not playing. 

"He's one of these rare players that I've tripped on over my 16 years in the league that you really feel comfortable with and trust," Brown said. "He's obviously not poor; he doesn't have to do this. I say that because it's just another layer to confirming his heart is in the right place. He wants to help me, he wants to help our young guys."

Brand signed with the Sixers last January for his final season to provide leadership to a young locker room. Now in a personnel role, Brown describes Brand's presence as "an incredible sense of perspective, a calm mind."

"I just have a tremendous amount of respect for Elton Brand and appreciate his inclusion and his company," Brown said. 

Joel Embiid is scheduled to join the Sixers in Los Angeles.