Josh Harris wouldn't budge.
The 76ers co-managing owner announced Thursday that when it comes to decision making, newly named general manager Elton Brand will be partners with head coach Brett Brown. The team will not hire a president of basketball operations.
Harris added that Brand and Brown will report to him and the team's ownership group, and that he expects the two will collaborate often.
"Ultimately, Brett is the on-the-court voice," Harris said during Brand's introductory news conference. "Elton is the off-the-court voice. Elton will have kind of the loudest voice off the court, and final decision-making authority subject to ownership."
He added that ownership will sign off on large decisions.
But when it comes to Brown and Brand, who will have the louder voice? Ultimately, off-court decisions, such as player personnel, have an impact on the team's on-court performances. Someone's voice might need to stand out.
Harris broke it down: "Minute-to-minute coach sort of decisions will be Brett. Personnel decisions, trades, free agents will be Elton."
Brand reiterated that he and Brown are aligned and have a partnership. The 39-year-old noted that a coach and general manager have to get along for a team to win in the NBA.
That close partnership is nothing new for Brown and Brand.
Brand's most recent role was vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers' G League team. That followed two playing stints with the Sixers, the second coming in 2016, under Brown, when Brand served as a mentor to the team's young players.
The 6-foot-8, 265-pound forward retired from playing in October 2016, ending a 17-year career that started when the Chicago Bulls chose him with the first pick in the 1999 draft.
"He's coached me before," Brand said of Brown. "We've had lunches when I had nothing to do with the team, and I'd give him advice. He gives me advice. He's an advocate for me.
"So it's not a big deal for us to be in partnership to be aligned and unified on a goal to win a championship."
Since Colangelo's resignation, Brand, Brown, co-owner David Heller, assistant general manager Ned Cohen, and senior vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley have been acting as management, making decisions about the NBA draft, trades, and free agency.
After learning there would be internal candidates for the vacant GM job, Brand looked at this opportunity as a chance to lead and step up. Harris said Brand rose to the top during the interview process.
There was a sense around the league that the Sixers would hire from within despite interviewing outside candidates. The ownership group hired scouts and gave front-office personnel new titles and extensions without a permanent general manager on the job. Incoming GMs typically like to bring in their own people, not take a job where a staff is already in place.
Sources said the Sixers wanted their next GM to be someone who will be the public face and win over fans. That fits the well-respected Brand, who was regarded as one of the best locker-room guys in the NBA. He's also someone to whom players can relate.
"We need to be attracting talent here," said Harris, whose squad is looking to attract a third star to play alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. "Certainly, Elton's image and his personality of who he is as a person, all those things were real positive as a person."
Harris added that Brand has leadership and managerial skills and the things that you have to do in the front office that aren't about image.
The Sixers' previous two GMs, Colangelo and Sam Hinkie, rarely made themselves available to the media. Brand plans to stop that trend.
"I'll lead with honesty and integrity," he said. "I'll try to be as transparent as I can."
However, he won't discuss individual players' medical information or other teams' players.
"But I will be available for sure," he said, "and I'll take the hits when decisions are made on the basketball side."
At that moment, Harris, seated to his left, said, "Thank you. … I'm OK with that."