The Sixers on Monday announced several front office moves — none of which included a new general manager.
The team has promoted Ned Cohen from associate vice president and chief of staff to assistant GM, and Marc Eversley from VP of player personnel to senior VP of player personnel. Former Sixer Elton Brand has been given the title of VP of basketball operations but will still run the Delaware Blue Coats, the team’s G-League affiliate.
For now, head coach Brett Brown will keep the title of interim GM … and maybe for the foreseeable future.
"We have a skilled and stable staff who share the same vision under Brett," Sixers managing partner Josh Harris told ESPN. "We prefer to find someone, but we don't want to feel forced into compromising."
Harris isn’t wrong with this line of thinking. With the draft and free agency over with, the Sixers’ roster is pretty much set. Any roster battles that play out would likely be decided by Brown anyway. A new GM likely wouldn’t play a significant role until the trade deadline.
While Harris is comfortable with the current power structure heading into the season, it’s not something he wants to run with forever. Brown is a coach first and foremost and Harris would like to keep it that way long term.
"Through and through, Brett loves being a basketball coach — and he's really good at it," Harris told ESPN. "In-season, it's an 80- to 100-hour-a-week job, and I think he's reflective on just how much harder it would be to try and do both jobs. He's done it on a temporary basis because it's the right thing for the organization. His goal is to coach the Sixers to an NBA championship, and in order to put us in that position, to have a maximum chance of doing that, Brett realizes that a strengthened front office would be a good thing."
The most interesting of the aforementioned names may be Cohen. Cohen spent 12 years working for the league, working his way up to associate vice president of basketball operations.
Through that job, Cohen developed relationships with the front offices of NBA teams. His job focused on competitive rules, which gives him a great understanding of the rules when it comes to playing, collective bargaining and the draft. He also had a role on the undergraduate advisory committee, which lets potential picks know where they are projected to be drafted.
All of this coupled with the fact that Cohen already has a good working relationship with Brown makes him an attractive candidate.
"What I've learned is that GM job has got many facets and that it's a learned skill,” Harris said. “It's certainly got a public facing nature to it, but management and very strong relationships are important — and very few people who are not sitting GMs have all of those components. We have strengths in all those areas around our front office right now."
Harris was obviously speaking in broader terms, but he did describe Cohen to a certain extent.
Eversley is no slouch either. He began his career working for Nike and has since worked for the Raptors and Wizards before joining the Sixers. Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets were reportedly sniffing around Eversley for their vacant GM job. The team eventually hired longtime Lakers executive Mitch Kupchak.
Aside from Cohen, Eversley and Brand, a few other minor changes were made. Alex Rucker was bumped up from VP of analytics and research to senior VP of analytics and research. Assistant coach Kevin Young has also been promoted. He’ll be on the front of the bench with Monty Williams and Billy Lange. Jim O’Brien will now serve as senior advisor to Brown.