DiLeo puts on his latest hat with Sixers, as general manager

Tony DiLeo, addressing the media for the first time as general manager, has been in the Sixers organization since the 1990-91 season.
Tony DiLeo, addressing the media for the first time as general manager, has been in the Sixers organization since the 1990-91 season. (DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: September 25, 2012

THE SEARCH for a new general manager could have been an arduous one for the 76ers. They were looking to replace incumbent leader Rod Thorn, whose contract will expire at the end of this season. Instead, their choice to replace Thorn was right in their own backyard - and has been since the 1990-91 season.

Monday, on the team's practice floor at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Tony DiLeo was officially introduced as the team's new GM in a very casual press conference. Perhaps it was fitting; a grand welcoming for DiLeo might seem inappropriate because he's been with the organization for so long, holding a variety of positions, including coach (65 games, including playoffs, in 2008-09), and most recently assistant general manager.

"I'm extremely honored and proud to be named general manager of the 76ers," said DiLeo, 57, who played his college basketball at La Salle. "It's been a dream of mine. We're really excited about the team this year. We did a lot of things this summer in adding Andrew Bynum and adding depth and adding shooting. We're very excited for the start of training camp next week [Tuesday at Saint Joseph's]. And I think I can officially say that I have now held every position in the 76ers organization and every title, so there's nowhere to go."

With the offseason moves, fans are expecting the franchise to go places, mainly to compete for the Eastern Conference title. Here's what DiLeo had to say about the myriad of subjects on his plate:

On how he landed the job over others:

 "They were very up front with me. I talked to them over the summer. Going back to last year, they said they would evaluate everyone throughout the year and they did and this summer they said they would consider me for the GM position, so they were very up front. [I interviewed] probably twice, one time in the summer, one time in September. I put together a plan for the organization; things that I wanted to do, reshape the front offices a little bit and strengthen different areas. I put that plan together and we talked about it with the ownership group and they said they wanted to get something done before training camp started.''

On when and how he will transition into his new role:

 "I'll work alongside Rod. I've learned a lot from Rod. He's been great. I'll continue to lean on Rod for input. My role will be taking more of an active role as the day-to-day GM position - talking to teams, talking to agents, talking about trades and things like that.

"It will be a change, but I'll go about it the same way. I like to gather information, look at it, analyze it, decipher it and then come to a decision. Now instead of making recommendations, it will be more of a decision-making role."

On what are his first priorities as GM:

 "We want to do a lot of things. I think it's been out there about the analytics part of it. I'm a big believer in it. We're going to try to bring somebody in that's an expert in statistics and analytics that will give us a competitive edge over these other organizations. We feel with our basketball people - Rod Thorn, Doug Collins, myself and our scouts and Courtney Witte [director of player personnel] - we have a great basketball core of people. Now if we can supplement that with the analytical people, that would give us another advantage and that will give me more information to make better decisions.

"Looking back, we always had a plan and it was a three-stage plan. First stage was acquiring assets and developing those assets. We had a lot of good draft picks and we developed those players. And then when the opportunity came along to go after an impact or a star player we made the trade for Andrew Bynum, who we feel we can build around. He impacts both the offensive and defensive end. Now the third part of our process is to build a championship roster, to build the pieces around.

"We know we don't have a perfect roster. This year will be more of a transition year; we have a lot of questions. We have a lot of players who will be playing new positions and new roles. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner will have much more of a role and impact on this team. We'll try Spencer Hawes at the power forward spot, which he hasn't played before. We have some new players that we want to see in Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson and so on. We're looking to answer a lot of questions this year and then at the end of the year, or during the middle of the year, try and put things together."

More on Bynum:

"There is a time frame - 6 months after the trade - where we can negotiate with him to see if he wants to have an extension or we can wait till the end of the year and get a longer extension. His agent has said he wants to come and see the surroundings, see the team, see the atmosphere. He's been very, very happy. His agent said he hasn't seen him this happy in a long time. I think everything will work out. I think we will like Andrew and Andrew will like it here. At the appropriate time we will get into negotiations."

On the injections Bynum recently received in Germany to stimulate healing in his arthritic knees:

"He said he feels very good. He came back last week from Germany and had the series of injections and it was nothing invasive. He could work out right after the injections. It's not a problem at all. We expect him sometime this week."

On this year's expectations:

"They're very high. You'd have to go back all the way to the 2000, 2001, 2002 seasons when we went to the Finals or were knocking on the door there. I think expectations were very high and I think since then this is the next time for them to be so high. We are very excited with our depth and we are a very big team. We're very excited to get this started."

Six shots

Tony DiLeo was noncommittal about whether the team was going to bring in Josh Howard for training camp, as has been reported. Howard, 32, averaged 8.7 points in 43 games for Utah last season. DiLeo did say the Sixers were looking to add some small forwards to the training-camp roster . . . The team has added the title of assistant coach to video coordinator extraordinaire Monte Shubik.

Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com

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