Estimated reading time: 21 minutes
This is a story about Elton Brand as Sixers GM. Lets dive into the Sixers future and their recent past. Where have the recent free-agent signings and payroll maneuvers taken the team and where will the 76ers go from here.
Table of contents
- Elton F’in Brand
- moving the Sixers backwards
- 2019 Playoffs
- Jimmy James PeaceDot
- What’s this have to do with Elton Brand?
- Elton Brand’s 1st Mistake
- WTF Fire Elton Brand Posthaste!!!!
- Horford and Harris
- Elton Brand’s 2nd Mistake
- 2020 Free Agency
- Joel Embiid
- Ben Simmons
- The Sixers Core
Elton F’in Brand
Thank you Elton Brand. Thanks for all you’ve done. Every stupid miscalculation that you made, every massive screw-up that you delivered with utter incompetence. Can the Sixers bounce back from Elton Brand’s 2019 off-season?
They will bounce back but will they do it before 2025?
moving the Sixers backwards
Elton Brand was named GM of the 76ers on September 20, 2018. In his first 6 months on the job, it appeared that Brand was a competent candidate for the role. He brought in Jimmy Butler and then Tobias Harris. Elton Brand setup the Sixers for a 2019 run at the NBA title.
Butler was making 20.5M and Harris 14.8M for 2019. Both players were in the final year of their contracts.
The Sixers had to give up alot of assets to acquire these soon to be free agents. Players and draft picks were sacrificed in acquiring two players that could leave at the end of the season. I personally found this somewhat troubling since Golden State was a juggernaut and I didn’t think Philly could beat them.
If The Warriors didn’t suffer the injuries that they did, no one would have beaten them. They were the first team to play in five straight NBA Finals in the modern postseason structure.
After defeating the Brooklyn Nets in 5 games to open the playoffs, Philly set their sites on the Toronto Raptors.
In the first game, Kawhi Leonard did his best Michael Jordan impersonation, leading Toronto to victory with 45 points and 11 rebounds.
The Sixers had a 19-point lead in the 2nd quarter of game 2, the Raptors cut it to within a basket more than once. Philly’s players seemed shell shocked and their body language as a whole screamed beaten.
That is all except one player. One player played with all the toughness and heart you can hope for as a fan. He didn’t care what Toronto did because he wasn’t going to let them take the lead. Not in this game. Every time the Raptors came close, Jimmy Butler answered back.
The 76ers lost to the eventual champion Raptors on a buzzer-beater from Kawhi in game 7. If Jimmy Butler wasn’t playing for the Philadelphia 76ers there would never have been a game 7.
There isn’t any one aspect of Jimmy Butler’s game that is elite, but he is solid in all aspects of his game. His game is a complete game. Jimmy’s doesn’t have any weaknesses physically or mentally.
He can shoot, rebound, pass, put the ball on the floor, he leads by example, and Jimmy is tough. Butler is very tough, both mentally and physically.
Butler decided he didn’t want to be with the Sixers because of the way things were being ran in the front office. He stated that he didn’t know who was in charge.
This is when the dense, imbecilic decisions of Elton Brand started The Process of putting together what has become The Sixers core through 2023
Trust the Process
In 2018, the Sixers made their first playoff appearance since 2012. Led by All-Star center Joel Embiid and Rookie-of-the-Year Ben Simmons, the team who asked Philadelphia to trust the process, won 52 games in 2017-18. It was the Sixers first 50-win season since 2001.
We all trusted the process and now it was finally beginning to pay off. The Sixers defeated the Miami Heat in 5 games to advance to the East Semi-Finals, where they fell to a playoff tested Boston Celtics team.
The lean years of the process was meant to give the Sixers elite talent via the draft and it worked. With a payroll just over 100M and draft picks to spare, 76ers basketball looked bright heading into the future. Then Elton Brand leveled this future in four days.
Jimmy James PeaceDot
Jimmy decided he would be taking his talents to South Beach. Elton Brand signed and traded Butler to Miami and received 26-year- old Josh Richardson in return.
Elton Brand acquired Jimmy Butler in November 2018 from Minnesota. Jimmy was a four-time NBA all-star at the time of the trade. He was selected to a fifth All-Star Game in 2020, as a member of the Heat. He was brought to Philadelphia to help the young 76ers take the next step, and go from up-and-coming team to legit title contender.
Jimmy Butler did what he was brought into Philly to do. When it mattered the most, he took the Sixers and put them on his back. Unfortunately, his stint in the city was short lived.
What does the Raptors winning the NBA title mean?
The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship against the hobbled G.S Warriors. That is just a fact.
Philly lost game 7 vs. Toronto on a buzzer-beater
that doesn’t mean if the Sixers win that game in overtime
they would have won the championship too
The Sixers definitely could have won the title, but in the conference finals the Raptors didn’t face an inferior opponent. The 60-win top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks were on tap.
The Raptors lost the first 2 games in Milwaukee. Then in game 3,they were down before coming back to win the game in double-overtime. Barely avoiding falling into a 3-0 hole.
Could the Sixers have defeated the Bucks?
Of course they could have won against Milwaukee and went to the NBA Finals but it isn’t a foregone conclusion. Many 76ers fans led themselves to believe that it was.
The 2019 Finals
When Kevin Durant returned to action, the Raptors were ahead 3-1 in the NBA Finals. K.D scored 11 points in a single quarter before tearing his achilles tendon.
If the Warriors were playing the Sixers, when Durant came back it would have been in a different arena.
Toronto had home-court vs. Golden State. The Warriors would have had the home-court advantage against Philadelphia.
Let’s say Durant tears his achilles the same way, just for arguments sake.
What about Klay Thompson? Is he getting injured against Philly too?
The Warriors would have forced a game 7, if Klay didn’t tear his ACL in game 6. Would either injury have happened against a different opponent, in a different arena?
What’s this have to do with Elton Brand?
Following the 2019 playoffs, the climate surrounding the Sixers in the city and from the media, was that this was a team that was ready to win now.
Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris were unsigned but it didn’t seem to matter in the slightest. No matter what happened the feeling was the Sixers were title contenders. The Sixers GM should have known better. If Elton Brand didn’t know any better, then he should have been removed from his duties. You wouldn’t think he could make that many stupid moves, but that would be wrong, he did.
Nevermind that without Butler there is no game 7. Given the mental temperament of some of the players on the Sixers, I’m not sure if game 6 would have happened without Jimmy.
You Don’t Lose Your Best Player and Get Better
Don’t mistake it, Jimmy Butler was the Sixers best player in 2019.
In 2020 this would have remained true. Look at what Jimmy is doing with the Heat.
“What about Joel Embiid”
What about him. He was barely present for the 2019 playoffs, that is when he actually was present.
“He did great even though we got swept in 2020.”
That’s because he had four months to rest and then played 12 games in the bubble.
No 7’0 with knee, back, or foot injuries ever came back to dominate for any extended period of time without getting hurt again. Then repeat over and again until broken.
Elton Brand’s 1st Mistake
When Jimmy Butler left for South Beach, the 76ers get a consolation prize in Josh Richardson. What happened next should have been a time of reflection and planning. Instead, what happened was Elton Brand acted with complete recklessness.
Did Elton Brand buy into all the talk
about the Sixers being in win now mode?
A GM or coach who is pressured by the media and the fans to do anything at all, shouldn’t have a chance to continue working that job. Any great general manager or coach will tell you as much.
Brand signed Al Horford to a 4-year $109M contract with $97M guaranteed. The Sixers should have fired him right then.
WTF Fire Elton Brand Posthaste!!!!
I remember when I first heard Al Horford signed his Sixers contract. Usually it takes a few seconds to digest news like that. Not on this occasion. My answer was a sinking feeling and then a single thought.
Fire Elton Brand Immediately!
The Fans reaction to this
I’ve written articles where I predict things, for example if Luka Doncic doesn’t go #1 in the draft, teams will regret it and people will be fired.
I never received a completely negative reaction before. Some people may disagree with my take and we talk it out in a civil manner. Not on this one. Not about Al Horford.
Was I wrong about Horford
I wasn’t just wrong about Al being a terrible pick-up, I was an asshole who should be suspended from all forms of social media as my limbs are tied to four horses and pulled in different directions.
The calmest reaction I received was a guy tried to tell me, Embiid and Horford would be like Duncan and Robinson. Even in Al’s prime, the only thing Tim Duncan and Horford had in common was skin tone.
How could every single person not understand. I still got the posts from reddit. Check them out below.
Fans say now that they were on social media expressing the same things that I was. I didn’t see any of them.
Horford and Harris
When Al Horford left Atlanta for Boston, in that first season, Atlanta won 5 less games. They got eliminated in the same round of the playoffs as the previous season. Boston with Horford, won 5 more games than the previous season, and didn’t advance any further in the playoffs either.
Al Horford never was a difference maker. In Boston he averaged about 13.5-7.0-4.5. Brand gave him about $2M for every point he averaged in Boston.
Danny Ainge wasn’t even interested in bringing Horford back. Ainge didn’t even make him an offer. Didn’t Elton Brand do his homework on the Sixers when he arrived back in Philly?
Don’t make deals with Danny Ainge that involve players he doesn’t want. MARKELLE FULTZ!!!
Tobias Harris on the other hand is a nice player. He can make a difference on a team. Ideally as a very good 3rd option. He is what he is. Tobias averages 17-20 points per game.
Elton Brand’s 2nd Mistake
When The 76ers traded for Tobias Harris, he was making $14.8M in the final year of his contract. I would’ve said that the Sixers should definitely try to re-sign Harris. Anywhere from $17-22 million for 2-3 years. That would’ve been a good signing.
Instead what Elton Brand did was unthinkable. He gave Tobias $180M guaranteed. He will be the highest paid Philly player for the next 4 years.
In the last year of his contract, Harris will be making $41M. Tobias Harris has never been an All-Star and likely never will be one but he’s getting paid like a future 1st ballot HOFer.
Al Horford and Tobias Harris alone will receive $277 Million guaranteed against the cap. These are both unmovable contracts.
These contracts are a death sentence. Paying this much of the payroll percentage to players that don’t quantify the cost, is what has rendered the New York Knicks irrelevant for the last 20 years.
Thank You Elton Brand. Thanks alot buddy.
What Elton should have done
After Jimmy Butler decided to leave, Elton Brand shouldn’t have spent the money that he did. At least contain the insane deals to 1-2 years. Then you can crawl back out.
The fans and media wouldn’t have liked this. They would have sent a lot of negative energy at Brand and the franchises’ willingness to spend money but when a big time difference making free-agent was available, Philly would have been a player.
Now they can’t move on any elite player. They could be so far into the luxury tax it’s ridiculous.
What a capable team builder would have done is sit on the money. Elton didn’t have a chance at a championship in 2020. Any title aspirations were just a mirage after Butler left.
The 76ers weren’t real title contenders in 219-20. I don’t say this in hindsight, I knew before the season started and I wrote about it.
Not This Season
If you read some of the reddit posts in response to me saying fire Elton Brand, you can see people saying that if The Sixers didn’t spend the money it would go away. One person said when Ben Simmons extension came up, the money would be gone, this is idiocy.
My problem was with 2-3 years down the road. The Sixers put their money in all the wrong places.
They weren’t winning now with the roster they assembled. Elton Brand needed to be patient and hold off until the right player was available, even if that was a year or two away.
It’s the GM’s job to look at the big picture and factor in the next few years even if the fanbase doesn’t like it. If you’re an aging team with its window closing ,that changes somewhat but you still wouldn’t do what Elton did. Now Tobias and Horford will stop Philly from making any significant moves until 2024-25.
Thank You Elton Brand
Patience is a Virtue
Patience is a virtue and Elton Brand exhibited uhhh, none. My question is did he know what he was doing? Was he just appeasing the city, that thought itself as elite right now? I think he is just completely incompetent?
The Sixers didn’t just lose their best player, they lost their best shooter too, in JJ Reddick. Why did people think Philly was they going to be better in 2020? The 76ers weren’t a great shooting team with Reddick and Butler.
2020 Free Agency
Brandon Ingram and Bogdan Bogdanovic are restricted free-agents.
None of these players will be Sixers because of the cap, and Elton Brand not understanding it. Anthony Davis of course is in a league of his own but a player like Bertans would have been a really good addition.
Then again, Brand probably would have given him $300 Million and screwed it up.
2021 has a great free-agent class that will begin with Giannis but it won’t matter either for Sixers fans.
The Sixers salaries for the next 2 seasons are over $147M. The cap is projected at $115M in 2021, with a threshold of $139M. Simply meaning that the Sixers today are into the luxury-tax for the next 3 years without doing anything.
Tobias will be the highest paid player on the Sixers until 2024-25. Horford isn’t making much less than Embiid and Simmons un.
In 2022, Harris will be making $36M followed by almost $38.5M in 2023, and ending at almost $41M in the final year of his current deal. No one in their right mind is going to take this contract and only one person would have made it. Elton F’in Brand!
Moving Joel Embiid is a possibility. He is one of the four big contracts the 76ers have that consumes their payroll. The problem here is Joel has had a lot of injuries and health concerns. There are buyers out there for Embiid, who will take the gamble, as the Sixers did when they traded for Andrew Bynum.
The problem with trading Embiid, is I highly doubt you can get the value he is worth in return. Joel will get hurt again. Joel will someday face an injury that when he returns he won’t be the same gifted talent anymore.
Does some team think that they can win with him before this happens?
The team trading for Embiid would be looking to pair him with one or more elite players. No one is just going to exchange star players with the Sixers.
In the end, Philadelphia would free up about $30M-a-year and it would enable them to pursue an elite free-agent but the Sixers won’t get Joel’s true worth in return.
Ben Simmons is the Sixers best asset based on trade value. The former 1st overall pick is one of the NBA’s best defenders and likely to win a defensive player-of-the-year award in the next few years.
Ben Simmons is a 6’10 point guard who moves like a player that’s 6’3 but hasn’t developed a jumpshot yet. LeBron James came in the league with a skillset that no one ever had before him. The size of a grown man, a small forward in a power forward’s body.
If Simmons develops a jump shot he is the closest thing to LeBron that there is, and has a chance to be the best player in the world. If anyone thinks saying that is going to far he’s a 2x All-Star now. He’s an NBA guard without the ability to shoot the ball and still is amongst the best in the game.
If Ben Simmons learns to shoot well enough to keep defenses honest in the playoffs everything changes. The Sixers will be a title contender immediately if this occurs.
If you trade Ben Simmons and his shot develops it would be the worst trade in NBA history.
The moves Elton Brand made over the past year are amongst the worst moves I ever seen an NBA general manager make. He took a Philly team with cap room and a bright future, full of postseason title runs and shattered it.
The Sixers Core
The Sixers will be bringing out the same team through 2023, that they ran with in 2020. It only took Elton Brand three days to destroy what took Philadelphia over half a decade to put in place. Thank You Elton Brand!
The Sixers fired head coach Brett Brown. This might make a difference but not a big one. Coaches win with the talent they have. Gregg Popovich isn’t less of a coach today than he was a few years ago, he just doesn’t have the talent he once had.
When Jordan retired the Bulls didn’t win and when the Kobe and Shaq era ended so did the Lakers success until Pau Gasol and those players joined Kobe.
Phil Jackson won when he had the talent and he won as much as he did because of the players & their talent. When he didn’t have the team, he didn’t win.
Eric Spoelstra wasn’t a good coach in many peoples eyes, then the Heat got LeBron and Chris Bosh and he became known as a great coach. You get the point.
Elton Brand needs to go. What he has done is up there with the worst moves in NBA history. A little advice for the Sixers owners maybe hire someone with experience or someone with more than a high school education.