CAMDEN – It didn’t take Elton Brand long to find his next gig after he called it a career last fall. The same can now be said of his ascent in the 76ers’ front office, thanks to a significant promotion.
Monday, the Sixers named Brand – a former Rookie of the Year award winner and two-time All-Star – the new general manager of the franchise’s NBA G League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers.
Brand, who transitioned to a player development consultant post with the Sixers following his retirement, replaces Brandon Williams, tapped earlier this summer to be the Sacramento Kings’ assistant general manager.
“I’m extremely excited to begin a new role as General Manager of the 87ers,” Brand said Monday in a statement. “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.”
Throughout his first 10 months serving the Sixers’ basketball operations department, Brand was around the team on a regular basis. He dealt with players in respect to matters on the court and off, and attended games at home and on the road.
This spring, as the organization made its draft preparations, the 38-year old seemed to have an increasingly visible presence. He attended the combine in May, was a frequent observer of prospect tryouts in June, and then accompanied the Sixers to Salt Lake City for the first leg of their summer circuit.
At that point in time, Brand said he was “revved up” and “excited” about having the chance to further contribute to Bryan Colangelo’s staff.
“I’m learning a lot from the management side, but I’m still doing the player development side. I’m having a great time.”
“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 skillset,” said Colangelo, set to enter his second full season as the Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations. “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.”
During summer league, Brand said he was keeping an eye out for two-way talent, both on the Sixers’ roster, and those of other squads in the field. In particular, he was encouraged by what he saw from the likes of Markelle Fultz, Jonah Bolden, and Furkan Korkmaz.
Brand’s foray into the NBA’s personnel word comes on the heels of an accomplished 17-year career, which began in 1999, when the Chicago Bulls chose the forward first overall in the draft. Two summers later, he found himself dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers, earning an All-Star nod in his debut campaign with the club.
As a free agent in 2008, Brand signed with the Sixers, and stayed on with the team four four seasons, the latter two of which yielded playoff berths. The Duke product returned for a 17-game stint in 2016, before formally announcing his retirement in October.
While Brand might have been prepared to hang up his high tops, he wasn’t quite ready to split from the sport entirely. Broadcasting, he said, was never part of the plan. Neither was coaching.
Personnel, however, not only offered Brand an alternative way to stay connected to hoops, but the chance to establish a more balanced life on the home front.
“Management, consulting, being around the guys, giving them what I can, that always interested me,” said Brand, who was one of several Sixers representatives to participate in the NBA’s recent Basketball without Borders event in South Africa.
Brand, just the second general manager in Sevens’ history, will be taking over a team that went 26-24 a season ago, its best finish yet. Delaware will hold a series of open tryouts in September, and start its 50-game 2017 – 2018 slate November 3rd.