The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have hired Ed Stefanski as the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. Stefanski joins the Raptors from upper management positions with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, where his teams qualified for the NBA playoffs in eight of the past nine seasons. In his position, Stefanski will report to Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo.

“Ed Stefanski embodies everything I was hoping to attain when the search began for a top level basketball executive to join our staff,” said Colangelo. “Ed brings to the table experience, smarts and a great feel for the game and of people.”

“I am very excited to join Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors organization,” Stefanski said. “Toronto is a world class city and the Raptors fans are strong supporters.

“The team has a young nucleus of players that have a big upside. And with the addition of Head Coach Dwane Casey I am looking forward to witnessing their growth and improvement.”

Stefanski, who has earned a reputation throughout the NBA as an excellent evaluator of talent, spent the past four seasons in a president and general manager role with Philadelphia. With the 76ers, Stefanski returned the franchise to playoff status via trades, the re-signing of key performers and the acquisition of athletic, younger players in the NBA Draft. Despite having only mid-first round picks in three of his four drafts, Stefanski was able to add lottery-level talent to the team.

Prior to joining Philadelphia, Stefanski spent nine seasons with the Nets. He was promoted to general manager of the club in the summer of 2004 following a one-year stint as the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations and four seasons as the team’s director of scouting.

While with the Nets, Stefanski oversaw the team’s basketball operations and was heavily involved in the club’s roster development and player personnel matters. He helped to build New Jersey’s back-to-back Eastern Conference Championship teams in 2002 and 2003.

A 1976 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), Stefanski played three seasons for Penn, where he was coached by Hall-of-Famer Chuck Daley. Stefanski was a member of two Ivy League Champions (1974 and 1975), helping the Quakers reach the NCAA Tournament in both of those seasons.

In 1979, Stefanski also began a 20-year run as a colour analyst for Big Five basketball and ESPN’s Atlantic 10 basketball coverage.