The NBA is, to state the obvious, much different than it was on March 11, when the league suspended its season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The world at large is, too.
One change unique to the Sixers that’s worth examining is the loss of a key front office member. Marc Eversley, formerly the team’s senior vice president of player personnel, left the Sixers to take the Chicago Bulls’ general manager job.
Eversley’s departure is significant. He’d been with the organization since 2016 and handled various aspects of scouting, pre-draft preparation and player personnel. The Sixers like to emphasize that they have a “collaborative” front office, so how will roles and responsibilities now shift? And does the team plan to hire a replacement for Eversley?
GM Elton Brand addressed the situation Tuesday on a conference call.
So, first of all, I'd just like to congratulate Marc Eversley,” he said. “He mentioned in his presser that it's his dream job, a dream come true for him. Talented exec. A great eye for basketball. He'll be missed. So we're always looking, I'm always looking for ways to improve our organization. If we can get better and make a hire, we will certainly do that. Haven't made that determination yet.
“I’m really proud of what we have with [executive VP of basketball operations] Alex Rucker, over 10 years as an executive in the league. [Assistant GM] Ned Cohen, 12 years with the league office, four years with us. [VP of strategy] Sergi Oliva, four years with the Sixers, 10 years in Spain. And [VP of scouting] Vince Rozman leading our scouting efforts again, as he did last year, has [close to] 15 years in the league. So I'm always looking to get better. Always want to improve our organization any way we can. If there's talent out there, I will look at it, we will look at it, but no timeline.
There are a few interesting elements to Brand’s response. First, the team had responded to the exit of former GM Bryan Colangelo after a surreal scandal involving burner Twitter accounts by making internal promotions. Rucker and Cohen both interviewed for the GM position that ultimately went to Brand, who’d been serving as the general manager of the Delaware Blue Coats, before the two accepted new titles. Brand’s openness to an outside hire is worth noting.
Rozman is an important name in the short term, although, as Brand indicated, this won’t be the first time he’s been an integral part of the pre-draft process. Brand credited Rozman for doing a “great job” in last year’s draft, when the team traded up to take Matisse Thybulle, and said Rozman has done “a lot of deep dives, a lot of film work” in preparing for the 2020 draft. While the draft is scheduled to be held on June 25, both the draft combine and lottery, originally set for this month, have been indefinitely postponed.
Finally, though free agency of course won’t start until the 2019-20 season is either completed or canceled, the Sixers have high-stakes offseason decisions to consider. Last summer’s moves have not produced the intended results. The pairing of Joel Embiid and 33-year-old Al Horford, who the team signed to a four-year deal with $97 million guaranteed, has been the Sixers’ worst two-man pairing in terms of net rating for the bulk of the season.
Brand told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters the team is “scenario planning for free agency.”
Perhaps the Sixers will find a new voice to replace Eversley’s and answer questions like whether it’s possible to extract decent value through a Horford trade and which affordable free agents would best complement Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.