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December 07, 2015

Philadelphia 76ers announce Jerry Colangelo as Chairman of Basketball Operations

GM Sam Hinkie will stay on in current role, says owner Josh Harris

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120715_Colangelo-2_AP Chris Szagola/AP

Jerry Colangelo, right, talks to the media as he is introduced by the Philadelphia 76ers as their new Chairman of Basketball Operations. Joining him at the press conference was co-managing owner Josh Harris, center, and general manger Sam Hinkie, left.

On Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers dropped an absolute bombshell. 

During an unexpected press conference called just earlier in the day, co-managing owner Josh Harris announced that 76-year-old Jerry Colangelo would be joining the organization as Chairman of Basketball Operations and Special Advisor to the Managing General Partner.

"I think we're ready to go to the next phase here," Harris said. "I think [with] Jerry's contacts, his standing in USA Basketball, and the Hall of Fame, he knows every player, every coach. He knows a lot of people. I think his knowledge and everything else will be invaluable but so will his ability to help us in that respect."

Colangelo comes to Philly with quite the résumé. A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for USA Basketball. Colangelo admitted that the move came about quickly, and that it wasn't on his radar just a week and a half ago when Harris reached out to him.

Whether or not the two events are related, that timeline matches up with Jahlil Okafor getting into multiple altercations in Boston early on Thanksgiving morning.

Due to the timing, what this exactly means for President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie is unclear. Harris said during the press conference that Hinkie will stay on in his current role and continue to "oversee the day-to-day operations of the team." Colangelo, who will still live in the Phoenix area, said the final decision on personnel matters belongs to Hinkie.

"Ultimately, someone will make the call and Sam is in the position where he will make the call on the final decision," Colangelo said. "But that's after a lot of collaboration and discussion with us."

"I think Jerry will be a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways for us," Hinkie said. "His experience in that area [dealing with media], with USA Basketball, and all sorts of timeless elements to team-building and players will be a big help. I don't really know any other way to say it."

Colangelo, who spent 43 years with the Phoenix Suns in almost every capacity (owner, head coach, chairman, and most importantly, president/general manager), remarked that he "tore down the team four times." The Sixers, currently at 1-20 on the season, are in the third year of a major rebuilding project under Hinkie's stewardship.

"There needs to be some support within the organization around the players," Colangelo said. "There seems to be a void of leadership player-wise. That is a reflection of the youth of the players."

There will be much more to come in the following days, weeks, and months, as we begin to figure out what Harris' move exactly means. For example, his new Chairman of Basketball Operations has an Olympic team to put together next summer.

But by bringing aboard Jerry Colangelo, somebody that Harris didn't know directly before contacting him, the Philadelphia 76ers' front office looks much different than it did yesterday. That much is without question.

"If you can get someone like this to work with you on a franchise in basketball, you do it," Harris said. "Once the idea came to me, it was a no-brainer from my point of view."

Here's more from the team's statement:

“I am excited and energized about the opportunity to work with Josh Harris and this ownership group in their continued efforts to build something lasting and special here with the Sixers,” Colangelo said. “This is an organization with a storied history, strong and talented leadership and a number of promising pieces that have the potential for a very bright future.”

During Colangelo’s storied tenure with the Phoenix Suns, which spanned from 1968 through 2012, his roles included Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Managing General Partner, President, Head Coach and General Manager. His impact on the NBA has been immeasurable, having served as the Chairman of the NBA’s Board of Governors from 2001 through 2005, a member of the league’s Finance Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Expansion Committee, and Competition and Rules Committee.

“It's not every day you have the opportunity to work alongside a Hall of Famer with Jerry's unique set of experiences,” said President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have him as part of our organization.”