Philadelphia 76ers hope to pry long-time Spurs GM R.C. Buford away from the San Antonio Spurs to help run the Sixers franchise.
Most of the news this summer related to the San Antonio Spurs and the Philadelphia 76ers has largely centered around potential trade packages and discussions regarding the Spurs’ estranged superstar Kawhi Leonard. However, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers have their eyes fixated on another one of San Antonio’s greatest assets: R.C. Buford.
“The 76ers’ search for a president of basketball operations/general manager could drag on… The Sixers have been without a full-time president of basketball operations/general manager since Bryan Colangelo resigned on June 7. His resignation ended a stunning nine-day saga that began when a report from The Ringer tied him to damaging and anonymous Twitter accounts. Sixers coach Brett Brown has been serving as the interim general manager.
Former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin was once mentioned as the leading candidate for the job. Spurs general manager R.C. Buford has been mentioned as a possible target, according to sources. However, the Sixers would have a tough time prying him away from San Antonio.”
Buford has been a fixture of the Spurs franchise for nearly 25 years. Starting off as a head scout for Coach Gregg Popovich in 1994, Buford worked his way up to Director of Scouting and was later promoted to team president before reaching the status of general manager in 2002.
It’s not shocking that the Sixers would try to target Buford. He is a member of the upper echelon of basketball management and is a savant when it comes to orchestrating and executing trades and player deals. Buford’s front office is the embodiment of what other organizations aspire to, characterized by a rare combination of level-headedness and strategic operational management.
During Buford’s tenure, the Spurs have experienced two decades of some of the most dominant and elite play on the court as well as organizational stability and continuity off the court that has contributed to the franchise making the playoffs for 21 consecutive seasons. Buford has been a part of all five Spurs championships, four as the GM, and won Executive of the Year in 2013-14 and 2015-16.
The Sixers are one of the top potential trade destinations for Leonard, and reportedly the only Eastern Conference team he would consider. If Kawhi is truly committed to eliminating all vestiges of his past with the Spurs, it is uncertain if Leonard would entertain the idea of playing under his old GM on a new team.
While it is entirely possible that neither Buford nor Leonard end up in Philly, this will be an interesting storyline to follow until the Sixers find a new GM or Kawhi gets traded.