Ed Stefanski has had mixed success during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers, as he’s simultaneously amassed some interesting young talent while completely nuking the team’s financial flexibility. He turned mid-first rounders into Marreese Speights and Jrue Holiday, re-signed Louis Williams to a reasonable deal, and kept Andre Iguodala in Philly.
The only problem is that in the process, he gave Iguodala way too much money, had the massive Elton Brand signing blow up in his face, liquidated Samuel Dalembert’s expiring contract for Andres Nocioni’s additional salaried year and the right to employ (and be disappointed by) Spencer Hawes, went through a coaches, and whatever macro combination of moves and factors leads to a 27-win debacle of a season.
If the Sixers wanted a reason to fire Ed Stefanski, they could have easily found one. Instead, they’ll retain him while rearranging their front office a bit, keyed by a new hiring. According to the Associated Press, Philadelphia has hired Rod Thorn to serve as Team President, which will shift Stefanski, the incumbent Prez, to GM. The two were quite successful as a pairing with the New Jersey Nets, and they’ll look to recapture some of the magic with the 76ers.
Oddly enough, the move coincides with former Sixers exec Billy King finding a new home in New Jersey.
Thorn stepped down (or was ushered out, depending on your point of view) from his post with the Nets, but apparently couldn’t stay away from the game for long. The man is a true NBA lifer, and Philly will be the latest team to benefit from his wealth of knowledge.
The Sixers have enough pieces to manufacture a bright future, but that growth won’t be organic. Andre Iguodala’s gaudy contract will burden the franchise for the next four seasons (not to mention Elton Brand’s deal), and though the team definitely has young talent at its disposal — Holiday, Williams, Speights, Hawes, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner, primarily — there are no elite prospects in the bunch, nor is there an easy and convenient way to piece everything together. Stefanski tried to complete the puzzle on his own, but now Philadelphia will bank on a Stefanski-Thorn collaboration to produce a fully actualized Sixers roster.