Elton Brand was a surprise choice in the GM search for the 76ers. He has been working in the front office system for a short period and it seems he still doesn’t have full control and autonomy some other GMs do. Usually, that’s a lousy sign long-term and if this doesn’t work out for the 76ers, don’t blame Elton.
Why do I say so? Here’s Dario Šarić, from the plane, commenting on the trade to his hometown news website (ŠibenikIN):
I didn’t know anything about the trade, and neither did my coach Brett Brown nor the GM of the Sixers. The owners of the teams made this agreement, and now it’s up to me to earn a starting spot by playing well. That’s how it goes in the NBA. I am confident I will be successful in doing that.
Now, as these trades happen quickly, often players are warming up when they are pulled aside and next thing you know they have a flight in a few hours. Brown and Brand were involved in the process, but it seems the decision was also news to them as they conveyed that to Dario.
Why hire a GM if you won’t let him run the show? One of the best differentiators of success in the NBA is ownership, and the most apparent quality of good owners is hiring a GM, giving him time and letting him make the basketball decisions. If the 76ers owners didn’t trust Brand and his team enough to run the show, they shouldn’t have hired him.
The Colangelo twitter scandal caught them off guard, the GM search went long, and with a sense, this was the time to make decisions that would end The Process and seal the team for the next decade or so, ownership couldn’t decide so they named someone from within the organization. If it turns out they just wanted the story to be over with, so they hired Brand with the idea they will have more influence over basketball decisions, that was a wrong cost-benefit analysis from their side.
Let me be clear; I’m not saying Brand is not capable, we couldn’t possibly know that at this point. But if you keep hearing that the GM was a part of the decision, but not the final decision maker when it comes to basketball decisions, then his owners failed him, and he can’t be judged for those decisions.
If the Jimmy thing doesn’t work out, either because of chemistry, fit or financial reasons, you shouldn’t say “Well why the fu&% did Brand make the trade then??”. You should say “Why the fu$% did Josh Harris make the trade?!?!?”