Elton Brand

Wolves Part Ways With President Of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas

The Timberwolves are parting ways with president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, sources tell Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the news, issuing the following statement:

“Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. As an organization, we remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of.”

Rosas had only run the Timberwolves’ basketball operations department for two years, having been hired by the franchise in May of 2019 after a lengthy stint in the Rockets’ front office. He overhauled the roster after taking the reins — Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie are the only two holdover players from the previous regime.

While he has certainly been active, Rosas hasn’t necessarily taken the Timberwolves any closer to legitimate contention in the last two years. His major moves – including trading up for Jarrett Culver in the 2019 draft and sending Andrew Wiggins and a first-round pick to Golden State for D’Angelo Russell – have been a mixed bag, at best. The club had a record of just 42-94 (.309) during Rosas’ tenure and isn’t viewed by professional oddsmakers as a probable playoff team for 2021/22.

Despite some questionable personnel decisions, the timing of Rosas’ dismissal is still surprising. Typically, a team replacing its head of basketball operations will do so at the end of the season, before the draft and free agency take place. The Wolves are making a change less than a week before training camp begins, after Rosas completed many of the team’s offseason roster moves – including trading for Patrick Beverley and re-signing Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin – in the last few weeks.

A tweet from star big man Karl-Anthony Towns likely summed up what many Wolves fans are feeling. Towns’ message simply reads, “Wtf…”

Of course, it’s worth noting that the Wolves are in the midst of an ownership change, with Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore buying the franchise from longtime owner Glen Taylor. New ownership groups often prefer to make their own front office hires rather than sticking with the incumbent executives.

However, Rodriguez and Lore don’t have majority control of the organization yet, having agreed to a succession plan that won’t see them fully take over until 2023. They’ll have a voice in major decisions over the next two years, but the statement announcing Rosas’ dismissal today was attributed to Taylor.

We should get more details soon on why the Wolves would make such a major change now and what their plan is to replace Rosas. For the time being, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggests (via Twitter) that Sixers GM Elton Brand is a name worth watching, since Rodriguez and Lore are believed to be high on Brand.

Speaking of Philadelphia, we’ll also be keeping a close eye on how this move affects Minnesota’s rumored pursuit in Ben Simmons. The Wolves have been viewed for much of the offseason as one of the teams most interested in Simmons — it’s unclear how Rosas’ departure may impact the club’s level of interest in the 76ers star.

Sixers Officially Hire Daryl Morey As President Of Basketball Operations

The Sixers have made it official, announcing today in a press release that they’ve hired Daryl Morey as their new president of basketball operations. Within the release, the club also confirmed that general manager Elton Brand has signed a multiyear contract extension.

“Daryl Morey is one of the very best front-office executives in the NBA and I’m thrilled to welcome him to Philadelphia as the 76ers President of Basketball Operations,” Sixers owner Josh Harris said in a statement. “Talent like Daryl rarely becomes available so we moved quickly and aggressively to bring him here. He has an extraordinary track record of success in this league as an innovator, visionary and leader, and I believe he significantly improves our chances of delivering a championship caliber team to our fans.

“This offseason, we made it our mission to make this organization better and stronger. By hiring a tremendous front-office leader in Daryl and championship coach in Doc (Rivers), as well as extending Elton, we’re proud of what we’ve assembled. I’m excited for their leadership and look forward to continuing to build a team this city and our fans can be proud of.”

[RELATED: Sixers Hire Doc Rivers As Head Coach]

Reports first indicated last Wednesday that the Sixers and Morey were in advanced talks on a five-year deal that would make him the team’s president of basketball operations. David Aldridge of The Athletic said at the time that the team envisions Morey and Brand as a “1-2 punch” in the front office, though their titles suggest that Morey will be the one with the final say on basketball decisions.

Morey spent 14 years with the Rockets before parting ways with the franchise in October. In Houston, he developed a reputation as a outside-the-box thinker who was creative in navigating the salary cap and building his roster. The veteran executive, who was known for constantly pursuing star players, helped to revolutionize the Rockets as a small-ball team that relied heavily on shooting three-pointers.

At the time of his departure from Houston, reports indicated that Morey may take some time off before seeking a new NBA job, but the Sixers’ aggressive pursuit convinced him to accept a new position almost immediately. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta had predicted that Morey would eventually join an East Coast franchise, but likely didn’t think it would happen so soon.

For the 76ers, it’s the culmination of their long-standing interest in Morey. Philadelphia received permission to talk to the Rockets’ GM two years ago and reportedly made an offer, but he elected to remain in Houston at that time. Now, Morey will be tasked with making the adjustments necessary to turn a roster headed by All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons into a legit championship contender.

The Sixers have indicated both publicly and privately that it has no plans to trade Embiid or Simmons anytime soon, despite the fact that the fit between the two stars has been awkward at times. However, oversized long-term contracts for Tobias Harris and Al Horford will make it a challenge for the club to reshape its roster around its two franchise players.

Morey said in a statement within today’s Sixers press release that he’s looking forward to trying to win a title in Philadelphia.

“I am humbled by the challenge and will work tirelessly to win the hearts of Philadelphia’s legendary fans,” Morey said. “The opportunity to work again with Doc Rivers, Elton Brand, and a stacked roster that is ready to win made this a can’t miss opportunity.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Elton Brand Gets Extension From Sixers

General manager Elton Brand has signed a multiyear contract extension with the Sixerstweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania adds that a five-year deal with Daryl Morey has been finalized, and he will be introduced as the team’s new president of basketball operations on Monday at a news conference.

Brand has been with the Sixers’ front office since 2016, becoming a player development consultant after his 16-year playing career ended. He was named general manager of their G League affiliate a year later and was promoted to his current position in 2018.

Brand may have agreed to the extension before news broke that Morey was joining the organization. A source told Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week that Brand has three years remaining on his contract, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst cited that as a new development (hat tip to RealGM).

“There’s a report out of Philly today, from Keith Pompey, that Elton Brand has three years left on his contract,” Windhorst said Wednesday. “Well, a month ago he had one year left on his contract, so I think there was a possibility Elton Brand got a contract extension that they didn’t announce.”

The organization reportedly views Morey and Brand as a “1-2 punch” as a management team, though Morey will rank higher in the front office hierarchy. Both execs are accustomed to being in charge of personnel decisions, as Morey served as the general manager in Houston for 14 years before leaving the Rockets last month.

Sixers Notes: Front Office, Morey, Hughes, Burke

Now that Daryl Morey is finalizing a five-year deal to lead the Sixers‘ front office as their new president of basketball operations, The Athletic is unpacking what that hire could mean for Philadelphia with several pieces.

John Hollinger of The Athletic praises the Morey hire as being the right move. Though Morey and current GM Elton Brand have been touted as both being in charge of front office decision-making, Hollinger speculates that Morey would not have accepted the gig had he not been guaranteed the last word.

After former Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Sam Hinkie rebuilt Philadelphia from the ground up, Hinkie’s old boss now gets his crack at the team’s talented tandem of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, as Rich Hofmann and Derek Bodner of The Athletic write. Embiid was a Hinkie lottery pick, while Simmons was drafted months after Hinkie’s resignation.

There’s more out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer provides further details on the Sixers’ front office shakeup (Twitter link). Brand has three years remaining on his contract and will stick with the team, along with assistant GM Ned Cohen. Current executive VP of basketball operations Alex Rucker will remain with the Sixers as Morey joins the team, after which the Sixers are expected to relieve him of his duties.
  • In other Sixers personnel news, head coach Doc Rivers will keep player-development assistant coach Eric Hughes on his bench, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.
  • New Sixers assistant Dan Burke, who has worked for the Pacers for 23 seasons, was not intending to depart Indiana this summer, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Agness notes that Burke is known for his defensive coaching acumen.

Sixers In Advanced Talks To Hire Daryl Morey

Former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is close to joining the Sixers to oversee basketball operations, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Morey will sign a five-year deal by this weekend, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Elton Brand will likely remain as GM after Morey joins the organization, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link). Morey and Brand will serve as a “1-2 punch” in the front office, sources tell David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Morey spent 14 years in Houston before parting ways with the franchise two weeks ago. Negotiations with Philadelphia began shortly after he left the Rockets and escalated in the past few days, according to Wojnarowski. Morey will become the team’s new president, and he has a strong relationship and history with new coach Doc Rivers (Twitter link).

In Houston, Morey developed a reputation as a financial innovator and a risk taker who was known for constantly pursuing star players. He helped to revolutionize the Rockets as a small-ball team that relied heavily on shooting three-pointers.

Morey will try to rebuild the roster in Philadelphia around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but he will face immediate challenges, points out Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). The Sixers have $120MM committed next season to four players: Embiid, Simmons, Tobias Harris and Al Horford. Morey will likely try to make a big move or two and will have picks No. 21, 34, 36, 49 and 58 to offer in this year’s draft.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta recently said he expected Morey to eventually wind up with an East Coast team, though he may not have anticipated it happening so quickly.

Philadelphia received permission to talk to Morey two years ago and reportedly made an offer, but he elected to remain in Houston.

Eastern Notes: Sixers, Raptors, Bulls, Wizards

In a pivotal offseason for the Sixers, they are reportedly making a change to their front office structure, according to Yaron Weitzman (Twitter link). Weitzman reports that Philadelphia is in the process of interviewing candidates to serve in an executive role under general manager Elton Brand.

As things stand, Alex Rucker is the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Sixers, while Ned Cohen is serving as the team’s assistant general manager. However, reports since August have indicated the team is looking at changing its front office personnel and structure, and Rucker is reportedly not expected back in his current role.

Here’s more from across the Eastern Conference:

  • Blake Murphy and Eric Koreen of The Athletic role-played what a potential contract extension negotiation would look like for Raptors wing OG Anunoby. The 23-year-old could receive a rookie-scale extension this offseason or become a restricted free agent after the 2020/21 season. The two Athletic writers detail various contract scenarios, while also looking at how Anunoby compares to other players who received rookie extensions after their third NBA seasons.
  • In his latest mailbag, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago discusses Kris Dunn‘s outlook and identifies Wendell Carter as the player who might benefit the most from being coached by Billy Donovan. Johnson also mentions that it is not likely the Bulls keep both Dunn and Shaquille Harrison.
  • The Wizards‘ team website explores Killian Hayes‘s potential fit with Washington. The Wizards own the ninth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which leaves them in the position to take the best player available. This season in Germany, Hayes averaged 12.8 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG in 26.8 MPG. The 19-year-old guard is projected to be drafted in the lottery.

Doc Rivers Considered Taking Break, “Couldn’t Turn Down” Sixers Opportunity

Since beginning his NBA head coaching career in 1999 with the Magic, Doc Rivers has changed teams three times, but he has yet to take a year off, having coached for a total of 21 consecutive seasons in Orlando, Boston, and Los Angeles. Speaking to reporters today after being introduced as the Sixers‘ new head coach, Rivers admitted that he entertained the idea of a vacation after parting ways with the Clippers last week.

I was not just going to coach anybody. I was ready to take a break,” Rivers said, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). “It depended on the team that was available.”

Rivers was intrigued by the opportunity in Philadelphia, and decided to meet with the team after being contacted by general manager Elton Brand. Despite having two years left on his contract with the Clippers, Rivers ultimately wanted to take on the challenge of leading the Sixers rather than taking any time away from the game.

“For me (it) was a job that you just couldn’t turn down,” he said today, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).

Here’s more from Rivers’ introductory presser:

  • Asked today about what role he’ll play in personnel decisions, Rivers said that he and Brand will “work together,” per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “That was one of the things that was so exciting about this job, to have this opportunity to work with Elton,” Rivers said. “… I think Elton and I will have a chance to form an amazing partnership together, and we’ll grow from there.”
  • Rivers said he loves the pieces on the Sixers’ roster, referring to as “loaded” and downplaying concerns about positional overlap (Twitter links via Youngmisuk and Derek Bodner of The Athletic). I don’t get lost in what position guys play,” Rivers said. “I look at how many points we score as a team. I don’t care how you score.”
  • Rivers added that the duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiidclearly works when they play together,” observing that the club wins 65% of its games when those two stars are active (Twitter links via Youngmisuk and Bodner).
  • According to Rivers, three teams called his agent within five hours of him leaving the Clippers (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN). Although he didn’t name the other two teams, the belief is that they were the Pelicans and Rockets.

Sixers Rumors: D’Antoni, Brand, Roster, Harden

The Sixers‘ head coaching search is believed to be down to two candidates, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who says that Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue are finalists for the job. Pompey, who previously reported that D’Antoni appeared to be the frontrunner, continues to hear buzz linking the former Rockets coach to the job and suggests that he’s the preferred choice of team ownership.

According to Pompey, some league sources are wondering how much autonomy GM Elton Brand has in the 76ers’ coaching search. Although Brand has taken much of the criticism for questionable roster moves and draft picks during the last couple years, most of those were collaborative decisions, with executive VP of basketball operations Alex Rucker among those who was “heavily involved behind the scenes,” writes Pompey.

There was a belief that the Sixers were moving away from that collaborative approach, with Brand empowered to lead the coaching search and ownership set to simply approve or deny his recommendation, but Pompey’s sources suggest it’s not clear whether that has been the case so far.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Brand met with Sixers ownership on Monday to discuss a new contract and is believed to be seeking a three- or four-year deal, sources tell Pompey. While there has been speculation that Philadelphia might look to hire a president of basketball operations above Brand, the latest intel from Shams Charania this week suggested that the club is only looking to fortify its front office under the GM, with Brand remaining in charge.
  • Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link) is starting to hear buzz that the 76ers are letting teams know they’d be more open to trade talks if they hire D’Antoni, since they recognize their personnel isn’t necessarily conducive to his preferred style of play.
  • John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link) has heard that one of the reasons the Sixers are interested in D’Antoni is a feeling that he could potentially help lure Rockets star James Harden to Philadelphia. I’d imagine the club views that possibility as more of an added bonus than a key selling point for D’Antoni’s candidacy, but it’s worth noting that Harden can reach free agency as early as 2022.

D’Antoni, Donovan, Lue Believed To Be On Sixers’ Short List

The Sixers, led by general manager Elton Brand, have met with a handful of top candidates for their head coaching job and are expected to bring a short list of candidates to the Philadelphia area within the next 10 days for a second round of interviews, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

According to Charania, Mike D’Antoni, Billy Donovan, and Tyronn Lue are expected to be on the 76ers’ short list and are “strongly vying” for the position.

The Sixers have been linked to several other potential candidates – including Dave Joerger, Darvin Ham, and Mike Brown – as they seek a replacement for Brett Brown. However, Lue was considered an early frontrunner for the position and D’Antoni and Donovan emerged as viable alternatives after they parted ways with their respective teams. It seems increasingly likely that Philadelphia’s next head coach will come from that trio.

Meanwhile, although a recent report suggested that the Sixers may be considering hiring a president of basketball operations to lead their front office, Charania says the organization remains committed to adding talent under Brand to “further strengthen the front office.” Brand, who is leading the head coaching search, continues to be the head of basketball operations in Philadelphia, according to Charania, who adds that the GM is well-respected by agents and executives around the NBA.

Brand: Sixers “Not Looking To Trade” Embiid Or Simmons

Confirming multiple reports that have surfaced since the team was eliminated from the postseason on Sunday, Sixers general manager Elton Brand said today that there are no plans to shake up the roster by moving either Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons this offseason.

I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel,” Brand said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). “I’m looking to complement them better.”

While the 76ers have faced questions about how to maximize the Embiid/Simmons duo on the offensive end of the court, the team sounds committed to giving its next head coach a chance to solve that puzzle. As Brand suggests, finding the right complementary pieces to share the floor with the two All-Stars will be part of the equation too.

In his comments to reporters today, Brand also spoke in general terms about changes that might be coming to Philadelphia’s front office. Following the departure of former head of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo in 2018, the Sixers’ front office took a collaborative approach to decision-making, but Brand said on Tuesday that “we feel the collaboration days didn’t work” (Twitter link via Bontemps).

Brand, who is expected to retain decision-making control in the front office, added that he’ll be leading the coaching search and will present his choice to ownership. He also addressed what sort of executives the club may be looking to add to its basketball operations department, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets.

“We’re strong in the strategic and analytic standpoint,” Brand said. “Get some more basketball minds in here. But all options are open.”

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Some of the executives and coaches who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype about the Sixers believe that trading either Embiid or Simmons might be the right move for the franchise. One Eastern Conference GM said he’d trade Embiid because it’s easier to build a roster around Simmons, but multiple executives suggested that Simmons’ shooting woes would make him the more logical trade candidate. Of the respondents who made the case for keeping both players, most argued that it would be difficult to get fair value for either one in a trade, Scotto writes.
  • Noting that managing the Sixers’ stars will be the primary challenge facing the team’s new head coach, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic weighs the pros and cons of Tyronn Lue, Jay Wright, Ime Udoka, and Dave Joerger, four candidates who have been linked to the position so far.
  • The timing of the Knicks‘ head coaching search allowed them to secure Tom Thibodeau before other teams got a chance to pursue him, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who hears from a source that the Sixers held some appeal to Thibodeau (Twitter link).