More than three months since parting ways with Bryan Colangelo, the Philadelphia 76ers finally found a new general manager in Elton Brand. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Brand made a strong impression during his interview and succeeded in selling the Sixers his “vision, preparedness and the ability to grow into the role at a crucial time for the organization.”
As of now, Elton Brand’s main goal is to help the Sixers end their decades of title drought. The Sixers had managed to return to the Eastern Playoffs last season with the help of rising superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — and now that LeBron James is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers — Philadelphia has emerged as one of the top three teams expected to become the new rulers of the Eastern Conference.
However, the Sixers obviously need more star power on their roster in order to be considered as legitimate title contenders. In a recent appearance on ESPN (h/t NBC Sports), Sixers General Manager Elton Brand hinted at their plan to add another superstar to their team. They are currently in a strong position to chase another big name in the 2019 NBA free agency — where several superstars such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, and DeMarcus Cousins remain likely to hit the block.
However, Brand has opened up the possibility that the Sixers could make a big move even before the 2019 NBA free agency begins.
“Everyone talks about free agency, but we may have to pull the trigger on something else before free agency. If we feel we can’t get one of those stars that I can’t name. I still think we need a piece. We’re close. If you ask Joel [Embiid] we have enough and if you ask Ben [Simmons] we have enough, because that’s the chip they have on their shoulder … they don’t want to hear that, but I think we still need a piece.”
“Sources have said that limited partner David Heller, a businessman and former Goldman Sachs executive, was running the show in Colangelo's absence, and that he, more than Brown, was the acting general manager.”https://t.co/fwG3pvs0Ng#Sixers— Mike Sielski (@MikeSielski) September 23, 2018
With the plethora of trade assets on their roster, it will not be a surprise if the Sixers pull off a blockbuster deal before the February NBA trade deadline. As of now, the Sixers are reportedly one of the NBA teams who have had an initial conversation with the Minnesota Timberwolves about trading for Jimmy Butler. The 29-year-old small forward would undeniably be an incredible addition to the Sixers, giving them a reliable scoring option who can also be the tasked to defend the opposing team’s best player.
Pairing him with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons would give the Sixers a higher chance of beating Eastern Conference powerhouse teams such as the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors in a best-of-seven series. So far, it remains unknown if the Sixers have serious interest in acquiring Butler. Expect more rumors to swirl around the Sixers as the 2018-19 NBA season draws near.