Source: Sixers interviewed Spurs' Ferry for president's post

Posted: June 14, 2012

IT WAS business as usual in the offices of the 76ers on Tuesday. President Rod Thorn confirmed Tuesday's Daily News report that the interviewing process to hire his replacement has started, but until that person has been named, Thorn and the rest of the organization is busy getting ready for the June 28 draft, the first day of free-agent signing (July 11) and trade possibilities.

"The story on Tuesday was correct. We are looking for somebody to replace me," Thorn said. "I am part of the group that is doing the interviews. The hiring could be soon or it could take a while."

Thorn, majority owner Josh Harris, CEO Adam Aron and coach Doug Collins are overseeing the interviews.

An NBA source confirmed that Danny Ferry was interviewed this weekend by the Sixers. There were published reports that said Ferry was the leading candidate to replace Thorn. Ferry is a very admirable candidate, but since the team hasn't had much time to conduct interviews, he is likely one of only a few prospects to be interviewed. A team source confirmed on Monday that the organization had not talked to anyone until the Sixers season ended in a Game 7 loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals on May 26.

Ferry, vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, has some ties to the Sixers. He was the consensus player of the year during his senior season at Duke in 1989. The son of Sixers coach Doug Collins, Chris, is the associate head coach at Duke. Collins has repeatedly expressed his admiration through the years for the way the Spurs run their organization, from the front office to coach Gregg Popovich and on down.

Ties aside, getting a new hire done quickly seems like it would benefit the organization. Thorn's contract expires after next upcoming season and after that he will begin a 5-year stint as a part-time consultant for the Sixers. Although the team could take as long as a year to find the right replacement, making the hire now, during this crucial period, would allow Harris, Collins and the new hire to move into the future in solidarity.

The key decisions facing the team now, besides whom to draft, are what to do with the players from this season's roster. Top among those will be whether to amnesty forward Elton Brand, who is scheduled to make $18.16 million next season. If the team does amnesty him, that money would come off the salary cap. Also, guard Lou Williams most likely will opt out of his remaining 1-year, $6.4 million contract in hopes of landing a long-term deal, either here or elsewhere, and starting center Spencer Hawes will be an unrestricted free agent. A league source said that both players are coveted by teams throughout the league and that both probably would garner salaries averaging about $7 million a year.

Lavoy Allen, who will be entering his second season, is also an unrestricted free agent and a player whom the team wants to keep. It could cost the Sixers a couple of million dollars a year to keep the Temple product. Almost certainly not returning to the team will be Tony Battie, Craig Brackins, Jodie Meeks and Sam Young.

Several names were provided by league sources to the Daily News as possible Thorn replacements, including San Antonio executive Dennis Lindsey and former New Orleans GM Jeff Bower. Others were identified as Oklahome City assistant GM Troy Weaver, Atlanta GM Rick Sund and Milwaukee GM John Hammond. It was reported Tuesday by that Lindsey and Bower were finalists for the Orlando Magic general manager job that was left open after the departure of Otis Smith. According to the report, Orlando is expected to make its hire either this week or next.

Could the Sixers be far behind? n

Contact Bob Cooney at Follow him on Twitter at Cooney76

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