76ers promote longtime employee Tony DiLeo to GM
Former assistant GM led team to NBA playoffs as interim head coach in 2009
For more than two decades, Tony DiLeo made a habit of collecting job titles with the Philadelphia 76ers, even leading them to the playoffs in a brief stint as head coach.
DiLeo beefed up his resume Friday when the Sixers named him their 12th general manager in franchise history.
He'll get to call the shots for a team clearly on the rise after landing centre Andrew Bynum from Los Angeles in a four-team, blockbuster deal. Ownership had lauded DiLeo for his role in landing the All-Star and for his complete understanding of the inner workings of the front office.
DiLeo, 57, will work alongside team president Rod Thorn. Thorn has only one year left on his contract and has a provision that will allow him to become a consultant after his deal expires. DiLeo could assume both roles once the 2013 season is over.
"We are very confident that Tony has the experience and knowledge to flourish in his new role, and we will continue to provide him with the necessary tools and resources — including enhancing our capabilities in analytics — to strengthen our basketball operations department," owner Josh Harris said.
The Sixers spent the summer interviewing several candidates for the job, including former Portland assistant general manager Tom Penn and former New Orleans general manager Jeff Bowers. Instead of going outside, coach Doug Collins, who also plays a key role in personnel decisions, and management went with DiLeo.
DiLeo, entering his 23rd season with the Sixers, had been working as senior vice-president.
"I am very excited about being named general manager of this organization and look forward to building upon our recent success," DiLeo said. "I would like to thank Josh Harris and the ownership group for providing me with this opportunity and I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we put a team that our fans will be proud to support, both this season and in the future."
DiLeo, a New Jersey native who played at La Salle, also played and coached in West Germany for 10 seasons before joining the Sixers in 1990-91. He had a brief stint as an assistant in the early '90s, and took over as interim coach in December 2008 after Maurice Cheeks was fired. The Sixers lost a first-round series to the Orlando Magic in six games under him.
He withdrew his name from consideration to return as the team's coach that summer and the Sixers hired Eddie Jordan. DiLeo was Philadelphia's director of player personnel from 1999 to 2003.
One of DiLeo's sons, T.J., is a senior guard for Temple.
DiLeo will now oversee a team that underwent a dramatic makeover after advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals last year. Led by Collins, the Sixers posted their first winning record (35-31) since 2004-05, and won a playoff series for the first time since 2003.
But the glow of that achievement soon faded once management realized the team had maxed out with veterans Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, and Lou Williams. Iguodala was traded, Brand was amnestied and Williams was allowed to walk in free-agency, freeing up some needed dollars to sign Bynum.