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June 04, 2018

What they're saying about the Sixers: The end is near for Bryan Colangelo

Is Sixers general manager and vice president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo on his way out following one of the most ridiculous scandals in Philly sports history? If so, when will the Sixers make their move? Who might they tap to replace him? And how will this all impact the 2018 NBA Draft and ensuing free agency? 

Yup, we've got answers to all those questions and more in the latest edition of What They're Saying about the Sixers. But first, here's a look at what we've been saying about Burner-gate since it broke last Tuesday night:

•  Colangelo saga dragging on reflects poorly on entire Sixers organization [Kyle Neubeck]

•  Very few plausible outs for Sixers' GM Bryan Colangelo in burner account crisis [Neubeck]

•  Colangelo's burner accounts are the best thing that could've happened to the Sixers [Me]

•  Bryan Colangelo investigation could wind up costing Sixers draft picks [Mike Tanenbaum]

•  Should Bryan Colangelo's alleged burner accounts be grounds for firing as Sixers' GM? [Neubeck]

And now, here's a look at what some others in the local and national media are saying about Colangelo, the Sixers, what happens next, and almost as importantly, when it might happen... 

Phoning it in...

Adrian Wojnarowski |

We start with a mini Woj bomb. The most important info here is that the team is hoping to have this mess sorted by "early this week." That piggybacks off what's David Aldridge reported earlier on Monday (more on that in a moment). 

The juicer detail here, however, is that Paul/Weis, who the NBA players association has used in the past for investigations into former executive director Billy Hunter, reportedly made BC surrender his own (read: personal) phones and electronic devices for examination. Apparently this isn't going to just be a he-said, she-said investigation.

The Philadelphia 76ers hired the law firm of Paul/Weiss to investigate the connection between President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo and secret twitter accounts, league sources told ESPN. ... 

An angry, embarrassed Sixers ownership group has been discussing the possibility of firing Colangelo, sources said. The Sixers are pushing for a resolution as soon as early this week. ...

It is believed that Paul/Weiss is using cyber intelligence consultants to assist them in the investigation, which sources say has included Colangelo surrendering his own phones and electronic devices for scrutiny.  []

The damage has been done

David Aldridge |

If the Sixers do fire Colangelo over this, one has to assume that he'd be fired for cause, and some of the delay in the organization making a decision could be due to them making sure they're on sound legal footing in firing him. Because if they do, it's almost impossible to envision a scenario where Colangelo doesn't file a lawsuit, especially if he continues to maintain his innocence. 

There are -- at least potentially -- legal hurdles that such disclosures as those alleged to have been sent or otherwise connected to Colangelo could create for the 76ers, and thus make it easier for the team to fire him for cause. (Sources indicate the 76ers’ internal investigation into Colangelo and the accounts is likely to be completed by this Wednesday...)

Interestingly enough, that fits perfectly into what Woj reported on an expected timeline... 

Even if Colangelo broke no laws, he has a lot -- a lot -- of explaining to do. The biggest problem isn’t with other teams -- people will do what they deem in their clubs’ best interest no matter who they must work with. They’d trade with North Korea if Kim Jong Un had an extra first-round pick or a 7-footer on an expiring contract. Please keep in mind that a good chunk of the anonymous league execs you see tut-tutting about Colangelo’s alleged misdeeds would saw their cars in half with a rusty knife if they could take his job. Their tuts have to be viewed within that context... 

That's a very Machiavellian outlook on the world – unfortunately, I can't argue with it, especially when it comes to the majority of people in these types of power positions. HOWEVER, it's less about what the other GMs think and more about what the players (both inside and outside the Sixers organization)...

But leaking medical information, directly or indirectly, to a reporter, a spouse or to your Twitter followers, raises antennae -- even those of agents, the most cynical creatures known to man or beast. Colangelo will be hard-pressed to survive if it is proven he either wrote or disseminated the claim that Okafor failed a physical that scotched a potential trade (as I wrote back in ’17 and believe now, Philly had a deal to send Okafor to Portland that fell through at the last minute -- and a failed physical would certainly fit as the reason).

“I think it would be difficult if it’s true” to do business with Philly, another big-time agent said last week, “just because I think his players would have to speak up on it.”  []

Written by the victors

Keith Pompey | The Philadelphia Inquirer

If the Colangelo Era is indeed about to be history, there's a good chance his time here will not be judged favorable, in large part because of the way it ended. But is that fair?

[Narrator: It totally is.]

If Colangelo does not return, how will his tenure be judged? It’s not an easy answer.

Colangelo was hired by the Sixers on April 10, 2016, the day of the final home game of a season that ended with a 10-72 record. Now, two seasons later, and under Colangelo’s watch, the Sixers finished 52-30 with a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference and a playoff berth.

But some critics never warmed to Colangelo. There was something about his father, Jerry Colangelo, being the team’s chairman of basketball operations when Bryan was hired that tainted his addition to the team.  []

Next man up?

Tom Moore | The Intelligencer

It's not like the Sixers aren't gearing up for what was supposed to be one of the biggest offseasons in franchise history or anything... 

Should Colangelo be ousted, the Sixers could give VP of player personnel Marc Eversley, who is Colangelo’s respected right-hand man, the job on an interim basis if they decide to conduct interviews for the position.

But what happens if the search takes, let’s say, two weeks? Eversley — or another interim person — would have opportunities to make trades during that time. His approach might not be in line with the permanent hire, so would he just be a placeholder supervising pre-draft workouts and listening to other NBA general managers’ trade offers during that time?  []

Here are a few of the names Tom threw out there to replace Colangelo – to find out more on each, definitely go check out his full column.

•  Sixers VP of player personnel Marc Eversley
•  Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams
•  Sixers VP of basketball operations Ned Cohen
•  Celtics VP of basketball operations Mike Zarren
•  Former Cavs GM David Griffin

And from the "also receiving votes" category...

•  Ex-Cavs and Hawks GM Danny Ferry
•  Delaware Blue Coats GM Elton Brand

Finally, it's worth wondering who will be in charge of finding his replacement. And thanks, like Sixers fans needed this last line... 

While we’re at it, who would be in charge of the search? Could it be Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil, COO Lara Price and members of the ownership group? Would special adviser Jerry Colangelo be involved?  []

RELATED: Despite Colangelo mess, Sixers' 2019 title odds are soaring

Time isn't on their side

Noah Levick | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Part of the reason the Sixers need to move quickly is because the NBA Draft is right around the corner. 

Colangelo or whoever takes his job will likely already have a shorter period than usual to conduct pre-draft workouts at the Sixers facility in Camden, New Jersey.

On top of that, the chaos around the investigation has reportedly already led to Colangelo missing a number of agent-run workouts.

Still, even if the investigation were to drag on for weeks, it’s not as if the Sixers would have no idea what they were doing. The Sixers have scouts and members of the basketball operations team who are dedicated to the draft year-round, so they should be well-informed on the prospects, even if they do end up having to accelerate their typical pre-draft workout timeline.  []

King slayer

Nick Schwartz | For The Win

LeBron's got jokes so funny he made Sixers fans cry. Except they probably weren't tears of joy because the best player in the game trolled them all over the weekend.

James was asked about Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s string of tweets addressing the state of the team, in which Gilbert called James’ impact on the team “magical.” LeBron said that he hadn’t seen Gilbert’s tweets, then referenced Sixers’ president Bryan Colangelo’s ongoing Twitter fiasco. LeBron even gave himself a rimshot.

“I wasn’t aware of that… it was his account though, right?"  []

As for whether or not the Sixers are falling out of the LeBron sweepstakes ... not so fast.

Not the first ... or last

Joe Lucia | Awful Announcing

Bryan Colangelo can sleep easier knowing that he's hardly the first famous person to royally fork himself over on Twitter. And he certainly won't be the last. The crew over at Awful Announcing took a look back at some legendary gaffes – there are so many you probably forgot about – and I don't know if any compare to the Manti Te'o–Lennay Kekua saga.

Jay Rigdon: It’s been five years since the world learned that Manti Te’o’s supposedly dead girlfriend Lennay Kekua didn’t actually exist, but if anything the story feels even more unbelievable with the benefit of hindsight. That an inescapable sports narrative turned out to be an example of rampant catfishing remains a fine example of both the dangers of social media and the failings of media as a whole. But Tiwtter is where it all started, with Te’o thinking he “met” Kekua via Twitter, and continued to keep up contact through that medium. Which makes sense, obviously; when you’re making up an identity to fool an incredibly gullible college football star, Twitter has plenty of advantages over, say, Skype.

RIP Lennay, whose story of being in a car accident and then being diagnosed with leukemia and then dying was repeated by just about every national media outlet. You were far more famous than plenty of people who actually existed.  []

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