76ers

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."

Injuries too much for Sixers to overlook Justin Anderson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot inconsistency

Injuries too much for Sixers to overlook Justin Anderson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot inconsistency

The Sixers have proven to have extraordinary patience with injuries. They’ve recently stood by as Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz missed chunks or even full seasons.

That’s fine if you’re a top-tier lottery pick expected to be a building block for the franchise. But those same assurances aren’t often afforded to role players.

Hence why reserves Justin Anderson (Atlanta Hawks) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Oklahoma City Thunder) were shipped away as part of an agreement on a three-team trade Thursday.

Sure, the deal delivered the Sixers a stretch big they were looking for in Mike Muscala and cleared up some of the roster logjam.

But the best ability is availability and Anderson and Luwawu-Cabarrot simply weren’t available enough last season to justify giving them another shot.

Anderson, who was acquired by the Sixers at the 2017 trade deadline in the Nerlens Noel deal, was hit particularly hard by the injury bug last season. The 24-year-old was limited to 38 regular-season games in 2017-18 because of shin and ankle injuries. Anderson later ended up undergoing surgery for tibial stress syndrome in his left leg last month.

When he was on the court, Anderson wasn’t consistent enough to warrant nightly playing time. His averages were down virtually across the board as the wing was limited to just 13.7 minutes a night, and his 33.0 three-point percentage, while improved, remained below league average.

“Does he fit how we want to play? Can he play fast? Can he make a shot? Does he have a toughness?” Brown asked rhetorically about Anderson when the Sixers first acquired him. “Defense, pace and space. From time to time he shows, yes he can, in all three of those categories.”

But those times were few and far between.

The same thing goes for Luwawu-Cabarrot. The French-born guard looked destined for big things within the organization when he finished his 2016-17 rookie season by averaging 18.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists over the final month.

That level of production proved to be just one of several glimpses for Luwawu-Cabarrot as patellar tendinitis continually held him back. The knee pain popped up again for him during summer league last year and lingered into training camp, which put him behind the eight ball. 

Luwawu-Cabarrot ended up playing in only 52 games as he drifted further and further out of the rotation to the point in which he was inactive on most nights toward the end of the season. He finished with an average of 6.1 points in 15.5 minutes a night on 37.5 percent shooting from the field and 33.5 from three-point range.

“We shut me down like maybe two months ago, and I feel really good right now,” Luwawu-Cabarrot said during his exit interview.

The right now factor is key. There weren’t enough times when the 23-year-old felt good enough to display the burst that made the Sixers use the No. 24 pick on him in 2016.

With both Anderson and Luwawu-Cabarrot dealing with separate injuries, the up-and-coming Sixers knew they needed to address their bench. That’s why the team aggressively targeted Marco Belinelli on the buyout market and the veteran guard was able to instantly slide into a sixth-man role for the squad.

The Sixers weren’t about to wait for the duo to get things together then and Thursday’s trade shows they’re not about to wait now.

Not for players of this caliber, anyway.

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Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

The Sixers were involved in a trade with Carmelo Anthony.

Exhale, Sixers fans, Anthony is not coming here. Instead, Anthony is being shipped to the Hawks — who will likely waive the veteran forward — with a 2022 protected first-round pick for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Sixers in turn will send Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder and Justin Anderson to the Hawks to acquire Atlanta’s Mike Muscala, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the Sixers' side of the deal.

The move makes sense for the Sixers on a couple fronts. After missing out on Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, who reportedly agreed to a deal with the team and then backed out, Brett Brown gets a player with a similar skill set in Muscala. The former Bucknell star has great size (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) and the ability to shoot (37.8 percent from three for his career).

It also makes sense from a roster standpoint. The team had a bit of a logjam on the wing and had 16 players for 15 roster spots. By losing two players and getting only one back, the Sixers are now at 15 players under contract. That also includes Jerryd Bayless, who will likely be bought out or stretched, but does not include 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden or 2018 second-round pick Shake Milton.

Muscala had a career year for the lowly Hawks. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes a game — all career marks. He also hit 37.1 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts. A second-round pick by the Mavericks in 2013, Muscala has spent all five of his NBA seasons in Atlanta.

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