The Sixers recorded one of their busiest portions of the offseason last week.
There was the broken contract agreement with Nemanja Bjelica, the three-team trade that sent Justin Anderson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot out of town and brought back big man Mike Muscala, the deal to move Richaun Holmes and the decision to sign Jonah Bolden. Oh yeah, there were also the reported trade discussions for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
That’s a busy week for any team, especially one without a full-time general manager or president of basketball operations.
The Sixers remain one of just two NBA teams currently without a full-time person in at least one of those roles (the Detroit Pistons are the other).
There has been little information made public about the Sixers’ front-office search other than a report that they tried unsuccessfully to lure Houston’s Daryl Morey to Philadelphia.
The slow pace was to be expected when searching for such a critical cog of the organization, as managing partner Josh Harris said earlier this month.
“My guess is it’s going to take awhile,” Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Amy Fadool on July 11. “And we’re obviously focused on doing it as quickly as possible, but at the same time I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations — it could take a little while. So we’re just starting that.”
The fact that the Sixers waited until after the draft and the major dominoes to fall in free agency before seriously going after a top front-office executive speaks to the confidence the franchise has in the men already in the fold.
“I think one of the tremendous legacies that Bryan (Colangelo) should be recognized for is he really, and I mean really, did a great job of putting key people in key positions,” head coach and interim general manager, Brett Brown, said on June 7 when Colangelo’s resignation was announced. “When I look at our front office the firepower that we really have with (vice president of analytics and strategy) Alex Rucker and (vice president of basketball operations and chief of staff) Ned Cohen and (vice president of athlete care Dr.) Danny Medina leading our medical department and (vice president of player personnel) Marc Eversley and (Delaware Blue Coats general manager) Elton Brand and it’s like you can go on. We have the firepower that we need to move this thing forward and not miss a beat.”
That’s all well and good and Brown, along with the help he named, have done an admirable job this summer in the midst of the Colangelo scandal.
However, Harris, who is now in the process of making his seventh decision-making front-office designation in nearly seven years as owner (Rod Thorn, Tony DiLeo, Sam Hinkie, Jerry Colangelo, Bryan Colangelo, Brown), wants to finally nail a hire to solidify the Sixers’ executive ranks.
“We’ve been through a lot as an organization,” Harris said last month. “Sometimes things happen with people. … The way we approach this is we think longevity is a worthwhile goal. We think people working together and developing partnerships is a goal.
“So far there’s been a little bit of turnover at that position. We’re looking for Mr. and Mrs. Right where we can build over the long run. We haven’t been able to hit on that person yet.”
And as each day goes by, targeting that perfect person is only going to get more difficult.
“The reality is, listen, we’re going to have very high expectations. This is going to be hard,” Harris said. “We look at this as a club that a lot of people are going to want to join and we have a unique culture here and a unique team. It’s not going to be easy to find that 100 percent right person, but we’re sure going to try.”