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September 21, 2016

Sixers' Colangelo on team's 'losing culture' and why he didn't want to work under Hinkie

Earlier today, Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski (*insert GOAT emoji here*) released a podcast with Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo. They had a thoughtful, wide-ranging discussion that is highly recommended listening. Here are a few points of interest that were discussed:

Brett Brown was uncomfortable chasing after Manu Ginobili in free agency, due to his Spurs loyalties. Great info, although not all that surprising after considering how much Brown reveres Gregg Popovich.

• Colangelo tried to land the Brooklyn Nets general manager job, but was ultimately turned down. Not anything new (thanks to Woj initially), but Colangelo was surprisngly candid speaking about that process.

• The Sixers weren't actively shopping any of their three big men this summer, according to Colangelo. Woj knows better than anyone to probably take that one with a grain of salt.

The hour-long discussion is well worth your time (they also touched on Colangelo's successes and failures in Toronto), but there were a couple of topics that stood out. To start, Colangelo's answer when asked about his first priority just didn't sit right:

"There was a losing culture," Colangelo said. "There was a losing mindset. It had been ingrained, partly due to the undertaking of rebuilding that they had been going through."

"It becomes part of the fabric of the team. I think more than anything, the mindset needed to shift; the mindset needed to change. And that's why we've been talking about winning -- doing everything we can to promote winning, to promote a culture of excellence."

If there is anything we learned from The Process, it's that the most basic way to snap a losing culture is by acquiring better players. And the way the Sixers have primarily gone about adding talent is picking high in the draft, which of course requires losing.

Later in the podcast, Colangelo spoke about his patient offseason, an approach I agreed with. With the team likely headed for a poor record yet again, will we really be able to say the "losing culture" has changed? If Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid turn the team around immediately, would the "winning culture" be the reason for their success?

Then, Colangelo described the Sixers' courtship of him. According to the current president of basketball operations, he didn't initially want the job because of the former president of operations:

"The first time that I met with David Blitzer and Josh Harris, I basically told them I'm not the guy for this job. I suggested a few other people -- one in particular who I thought would be ideal -- to come in and compliment Sam to help take this thing to that next level. They were a little bit stunned at my reaction, and my suggestion."

But then...

"Their approach changed. And obviously their approach -- it wouldn't be me coming in to work underneath Sam [Hinkie]; it would be me coming in to be the lead in basketball operations and work with Sam in another regard. That was of interest to me. That's what I thought my strong suit was, to lead an organization in that regard. Jerry [Colangelo] was not involved in that process at all."

Colangelo ran few front offices previously, so it makes total sense that he wouldn't want to work under anyone else. I do think his comments should put an end to the silly narrative that Sam Hinkie "quit," though. This wasn't close to the same job he signed up for.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann