Atlantic Notes: Colangelo, Brand, Ujiri, DeRozan

The hiring of Bryan Colangelo and resignation of Sam Hinkie doesn’t signal “a departure from a process,” Colangelo insisted Sunday as the Sixers introduced him as their new president of basketball operations, as Christopher A. Vito for The Delaware County Daily Times observes. Colangelo nonetheless expects a “summer of change” for the roster, suggesting that with as many as four draft picks this year, all in the first round, the Sixers will consider parlaying some of that youth into more experienced talent. “You can only have so many developing players on your roster at a time, so there may be some decision to defer some of those to a future date, or may be a decision to package some of those things to acquire players that make sense and fit our strategy,” Colangelo said. “… It’s about putting a basketball team together. We’re really changing our focus toward winning. It’s part of a shift in culture, a mindset. I think [coach] Brett [Brown] is excited about shifting that. … There’s going to be a much-greater likelihood that we win basketball games.”

See more from Philadelphia amid news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Elton Brand, whose signing earlier this season was one of the team’s first moves away from developing players, thinks he’ll retire at season’s end, Vito notes (Twitter link). Brand, 37, also thought he’d retire this past summer before the Sixers came calling.
  • GM Masai Ujiri‘s contract with the Raptors is believed to be worth $15MM, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange, so it appears the executive is seeing an average of $3MM annually on the five-year deal. Grange wonders whether the Raptors will explore restructuring the pact, which has two years left on it, now that the Knicks are reportedly eyeing him.
  • DeMar DeRozan admitted Sunday to a fondness for playing in Madison Square Garden, but he said he didn’t know whether he would consider the Knicks in free agency this summer, notes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Of course, it’s par for the course that a soon-to-be free agent would praise the Garden, and all indications are DeRozan will re-sign with the Raptors, as Grange points out, given the shooting guard’s consistent praise for Toronto and the organization.
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