The Sixers, who will bring in more potential draft picks for workouts Thursday and Friday, face crucial decisions. They have to decide whether they will use the amnesty provision on Elton Brand, which could allow them to gain more than $18 million in cap space and be active in free agency. Teams can begin talking with free agents July 1 and can begin signing them July 11.
Thorn, who has been in the league as a player or manager since he was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in 1963, said that when former team owner Ed Snider hired him the understanding was that Thorn, 71, would assume a consultant's role at the end of his contract, which expires in one year.
"This is something that has been talked about for a while. It's not coming out of the blue," Thorn said.
Thorn was in Chicago last week and over the weekend with coach Doug Collins; Tony DiLeo, senior vice president of basketball operation; and Courtney Witte, director of player personnel. A report in the Philadelphia Daily News on Tuesday said the Sixers had begun the process of looking for Thorn's replacement.
The Sixers interviewed Ferry, the former Cleveland general manager who is the vice president of basketball operations in San Antonio. It is believed that Ferry may be apprehensive about coming here because, according to a source, he may not have autonomy on personnel moves.
Atlanta general manger Rick Sund is also believed to be a potential candidate. Sund's contract expires at the end of the month, and there is no word from Atlanta or Sund on whether he will be extended. Last month the Hawks denied Portland's request to speak with Sund regarding its hunt for a GM. Portland eventually filled the position with former Los Angeles Clippers GM Neil Olshey.
Spurs assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey is being considered for the job, a league source said, as is Milwaukee general manager John Hammond. Hammond is in the final year of his contract.
The eventual replacement of Thorn seems to strengthen Collins' role in the organization. Hired by Snider almost three months before Thorn, Collins endeared himself to majority owner Josh Harris as the Sixers, who came within one victory of reaching the Eastern Conference finals, made their deepest postseason run since reaching the NBA Finals in 2001.
"I think Doug appreciates the situation he has here and he likes being a part of the team," Harris said during the playoffs. "And I think he and I have a great relationship, at least from my point of view, and I think he feels that way as well."
Collins has one year left on his deal, with the team having an option for another. Harris has indicated that he and Collins could hammer out an extension this summer.
Collins could actually be setting the course for his current associate head coach, Michael Curry, to eventually take over. Collins, who coached Curry for three seasons in Detroit, has given Curry most of the credit for designing the second-best defense in the league last season.
Collins, 60, is about to begin his third season as Sixers coach, and he has never coached more than three seasons at any of his previous stops. In his first season with the Sixers, Collins suffered from vertigo and had to leave the bench during a game. He left the bench again this season in a game at Detroit because of dehydration.
Collins did not return phone messages Tuesday.
Since he was hired, Thorn's greatest impact was the drafting of big men Lavoy Allen and Nik Vucevic, both of whom played important roles as rookies. Operating with limited salary-cap space during the season, Thorn traded Marreese Speights for a pair of second-round picks and acquired little-used forward Sam Young in a trade for the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez.
Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer.