Sixers to promote DiLeo to GM
The Philadelphia 76ers will promote vice president Tony DiLeo to general manager, sources close to the situation confirmed. The move was expected to be announced Friday afternoon.
Dileo, who served as the Sixers' interim coach in 2008-09, has been with the team for 22 seasons and held his current role since 2003. He will work alongside president Rod Thorn, who has one year left on his contract. Thorn's deal includes a provision through which he can become a part-time team consultant for the next five years after his contract expires.
In some ways, the Sixers' search was a microcosm of a prevalent philosophical debate in today's NBA. Sources said the new ownership group headed by Josh Harris was very interested in adding an expert in analytics -- the basketball world's answer to baseball's Moneyball era -- and so the 76ers seriously considered the likes of Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren, Rockets vice president Sam Hinkie and former Trail Blazers assistant general manager Tom Penn.
On the flip side, coach Doug Collins was known to be pushing for a more traditional basketball mind. As such, candidates like DiLeo, Danny Ferry (who was offered the Sixers' job before joining the Hawks as GM) and former Hornets general manager Jeff Bower were considered.
While the Sixers went the more conventional route by hiring DiLeo, one source said it's very possible they will add someone to work with him in an analytics-heavy role.
Two sources with knowledge of the search downplayed reports of the Sixers' pursuit of Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri. While Philadelphia was not granted permission to speak with Ujiri, that was the case with several other candidates as well, including Jazz vice president Kevin O'Connor and Thunder vice president/assistant general manager Troy Weaver.
The job that ultimately went to DiLeo became far more appealing when the Sixers landed center Andrew Bynum on Aug. 10 in the four-team deal that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Philadelphia had already built momentum by pushing the Celtics to seven games before losing as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Sixers followed their first second-round appearance since 2003 with a busy offseason, adding Bynum, shooting guards Jason Richardson and Nick Young, small forward Dorell Wright and center Kwame Brown while losing swingman Andre Iguodala, guard Lou Williams and power forward Elton Brand.