PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 18: General Manager Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers talks on the phone prior to the game against the Chicago Bulls at Wells Fargo Center on October 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

With the New York Knicks reportedly interested in Sixers general manager Elton Brand, ESNY looks for answers from Crossing Broad.

Although the NBA season is on hiatus for the moment, the New York Knicks are still making headlines. According to a report from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, team president Leon Rose is interested in Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand for the same role.

The native New Yorker is an interesting candidate for the gig for a variety of reasons. First off, he’s still under contract with the Sixers. Add in the fact that he has little experience with the type of rebuild the Knicks are looking for and it’s clear that Brand is an odd name.

With that said, the prospect of Brand linking up with Rose and the Knicks is intriguing. Appearing on the Knicks State of Mind Podcast, Crossing Broad’s Sixers beat reporter Kevin Kinkead provides some clarity on Brand’s status in Philly and the potential for a Knicks-Brand partnership.

“I think his situation is probably in limbo. I think Brett Brown’s situation is probably in limbo,” Kinkead said on KSOM. “I think there are a lot of question marks around all of that. It’s one of these things where we’re going to have to see what happens in the playoffs and now that goes on indefinite hold.”

The outbreak of coronavirus has the NBA in a Bret Hart-esque sharpshooter right now and there’s no telling when the league might resume. Part of the reason why Brand’s situation is so tenuous in Philly is because his main goal was to push the Sixers over the hump and win a championship.

“It wasn’t like they were looking for stuff on the margins,” Kinkead said of Brand’s win-now mentality in Philly. “It wasn’t like they were looking to do a rebuild or anything. He had a very specific goal in mind here and that’s why this report was kind of weird because I don’t think what Elton Brand has been doing in Philadelphia would make any sense for what the Knicks need right now.”

There’s the rub. How will Brand’s experience in Philly translate to New York? During his relatively short tenure with the Sixers, Brand has been aggressive in trying to land major pieces of a championship roster.

The midseason trades for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris were evidence that Brand and the Sixers were looking to make a major splash that would propel the team to an NBA Finals. Adding those pieces around the tandem of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons nearly worked in 2019, but Kawhi Leonard would have the last laugh.

The Knicks, on the other hand, are not particularly close to the Sixers in terms of a championship window. New York doesn’t have its Embiid and Simmons quite yet. There are some nice pieces on the roster in RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, but the Knicks are going to be a slow build.

Are the Knicks in for a complete teardown à la the Sixers’ Process? No, it definitely won’t be that dramatic, but there needs to be patience in the Knicks front office. Finding a few diamonds in the rough on the margins is an area the next GM will have to excel in.

As a former player, Brand could have a leg up on other GMs when it comes to free agency. However, as Knicks fans know all too well, building a plan centered around attracting superstar free agents is like a house of cards just waiting to fall. Brand’s connection to current players is a nice little checkmark on his resumé, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor that motivates the Knicks’ pursuit of him.

For now, the entire NBA is playing the waiting game. These Knicks-Brand rumors are great fodder for writers and podcasters, but it’s difficult to predict what will happen before we even know how the 2020 season will finish.

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