It's funny how acquiring one of the top three centers in the NBA suddenly makes your team's general manager position desirable. The Philadelphia 76ers landed former Los Angeles Lakers' center Andrew Bynum in the four-team mega deal that will forever be remembered as the Dwight Howard trade. With a formidable young center and a talented back court still in its infancy, the Sixers hope history will rename the swap the Bynum deal.
Plenty of NBA executives threw their hats into the ring for the suddenly viable position of the orchestrator of Philly's resurgent hoops squad. Reports Friday say the Sixers have finally come to a decision, and they needed to look no further than down the hallways of their own offices. Tony DiLeo has been with the 76ers in some capacity since 1990. Now, reportedly, he'll be the team's general manager.
DiLeo has no shortage of experience with the organization. He's been in the scouting department. He's been an assistant coach. He spent four seasons as the Director of Player Personnel. He took over for fired head coach Maurice Cheeks during the 2008-09 season and finished with a 9-14 record. Since then, DiLeo has filled the role of senior vice president and assistant GM.
Sixers owner Joshua Harris is reported to have been impressed with DiLeo as the team reshaped its roster during this offseason.
The Sixers were looking outside the organization, most notably at Boston Celtics' assistant general manager Mike Zarren, but he withdrew from contention and returned to Boston. The team also interviewed ESPN analyst Tom Penn and former New Orleans Hornets GM Jeff Bowers.
In the end, promoting DiLeo from within was the choice. Sixers' fans may conclude that the move doesn't make sense with the changing nature of the team. After years of utter failure, we tend to want to look for big names, or at the least, the unfamiliar because anything from within just tastes like stale coffee. DiLeo, however, has already helped current GM Rod Thorn change the culture in Philadelphia. If you like what the Sixers did this offseason, you can't have too big of a problem with this move.
Thorn will finish out the remaining year on his contract and then move to a consulting position in the front office. Think Dallas Green or Pat Gillick with the Phillies. If he already has a good working relationship with DiLeo, it makes sense to keep the train moving forward.
Pete Lieber is a freelance writer and a Philadelphia sports enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter at @Lieber14.
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