June 08, 2018
The Sixers news has been fast and furious the last two weeks, ever since The Ringer's Ben Detrick first linked several anonymous Twitter accounts to vice president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, ultimately leading to his resignation on Thursday following the revelation that Colangelo's wife was in fact the one sharing privileged team information on social media.
Normally in June, we're talking about the NBA Draft — did you already forget the Sixers have two first-round picks, including 10th overall? Instead, however, we've spent this month playing internet detective and speculating about the fall of House Colangelo.
Well, that part of the saga ended just before noon on Thursday, but it's far from over. The Sixers still need a GM, and free agency comes right after the draft. There will be plenty more draft coverage in the coming weeks, but it's hard to do that now without knowing who will be making the pick for the Sixers.
And since there's so much Sixers news out there and it's impossible to stay on top of it all, we decided another What They're Saying is in order. It's a big one, so strap in.
First, however, a recap of what we're offering up on PhillyVoice:
• What GM candidates will Sixers target to replace Colangelo? [Kyle Neubeck]
Now, here's what they're saying:
The latest from The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor is an update on some potential replacements for Colangelo. While our own Kyle Neubeck broke down several options earlier on Friday, this includes a bit more news with O'Connor's sources identifying a few candidates by name.
Marc Eversley, the Sixers’ vice president of player personnel, and Ned Cohen, their associate VP and chief of staff, are two internal candidates that could draw consideration for the role of GM, though the expectation is that ownership will take a long, hard look at external candidates. League sources identified Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren as a top candidate. Zarren previously interviewed for the position in 2013, but turned down an offer before Sam Hinkie was hired, according to the Boston Herald. Ex-Cavaliers general manager David Griffin is also expected to be interviewed, which should come as no shock considering his former working relationship with LeBron James, whom the Sixers are expected to pursue this summer. Another name that’s been floated is Kiki VanDeWeghe, who currently serves as the NBA’s executive VP of basketball operations and was previously a player, coach, and general manager. Philadelphia’s list will likely grow, as its strong young core led by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and cap flexibility to make significant acquisitions over the coming offseasons make the Sixers GM position one of the best jobs in the league. [theringer.com]
I'm just going to leave this here...
Here’s the full text of what Woj said:
“Brett Brown was never Bryan Colangelo’s coach or Jerry Colanegelo’s coach. And when they came in, when Jerry Colangelo took over, he put Mike D’Antoni on Brett Brown’s staff. Mike D’Antoni wasn’t put there just to be an assistant coach. Their plan, their hope was, eventually Mike D’Antoni would be the head coach. But Mike D’Antoni got the Houston Rockets’ job. And even through the great progress they made this year, getting to the second round of the playoffs, winning 50-plus regular season games, there was always a thought in the Colangelos’ mind that they’d get their own guy in there. And the guy they had always targeted, I’m told, was Jay Wright at Villanova. But they underestimated how popular Brett Brown was with the fans, ownership and the players. And the spirit with which Brown carries himself has permeated that organization.” [h/t nbcsports.com]
Over at SBNation, Tom Ziller offered up seven different paths the Sixers could chose going forward. There are the usual suspects like David Griffin and Mike Zarren, both of whom were mentioned in Kevin O'Connor's previously mentioned report. And then there's also a guy named Sam Hinkie that he argues would be worth reaching out to.
And there there was this option, that I don't entirely hate. At least he's not making the same mistake as the Colangelos in underestimating his popularity, both inside and outside the locker room. HOWEVER, Brown would need a solid right-hand man to do a lot of the wheeling and dealing while he, still a relatively fresh-faced coach, keeps the majority of his focus on the players already on the roster. But I definitely wouldn't mind him being the public face of the front office.
1. Let Brett Brown run the show
This is essentially what the Sixers plan to do for the rest of June, or until a new general manager is hired. The team announced Thursday that Brown will oversee basketball operations on an interim basis...
It’s not crazy to think the Sixers could look for a new general manager but permanently give Brown the role of president of basketball operations, holding final control over the whole enterprise and answering only to managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. That doesn’t usually work out too well — see Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta and Stan Van Gundy in Detroit — but, hey, the Spurs have been fine!
It avoids the biggest risk in bringing in a new general manager who Brown will sit under in the organizational chart: that the GM and coach won’t be on the same page. [sbnation.com]
When it comes NBA front office member looking to move, the Sixers are sort of like your one friend with the pick-up truck. Except in this case, it's less of a pick-up and more of U-Haul. And he also owns a moving company.
According to Woj, even current GMs still under contract are looking for ways to join the Sixers.
"What I heard around the league today were a lot of very good general managers in a lot of very good jobs [were] kind of looking at their contracts and hitting their agents going, 'Is there a way I could get out to get involved in that?' " Wojnarowski said. "Everybody wants the Sixers job." [via si.com]
It's great that GMs want to come to Philly, but once they get here, they'll need to be able to recruit and sign some big-name free agents. And if the stain left behind by Burner-gate is too large, it could cause players to look elsewhere. Of course, many of the same reasons why execs are so interested would also be appealing to free agents — mainly, a young core that includes Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and a coach that everyone seems to love playing for in Brett Brown.
That being said, this is a big summer for the Sixers, with two first-round picks and plenty of money to spend in free agency. They better get it right.
Andrew Sharp: Going forward though, I don't think that this will affect their chances of signing LeBron because LeBron is in such a unique place that I think he wasn't coming to the Sixers because of the stability that Bryan Colangelo provided to the organization. I think, if anything, he was coming because Colangelo was already sort of a lame duck who was going to do whatever he asked and I'm sure whoever they replace him with will probably take a similar tact whenever it's time to talk to LeBron.
But, having said that, this is the worst possible time for the Sixers to be without a GM because even if they don't get LeBron, this will be a massive massive summer for them. It's something they've been planning for for years and they need to get some superstar. They saved max cap space for exactly that reason and if they don't get that, they still need to bring back (JJ) Redick and (Marco) Belinelli and some of the guys who keyed their run down the stretch this year. They also have the 10th pick in the draft. So there are a ton of balls in the air and they need to have someone in charge so it's shocking to me that it's gone on as long as it has. [si.com]
Welcome to "Sports Shouting" starring Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. However, this isn't here because of anything those two said – although I did not expect Stephen A. to be so harsh given he's been so pro-BC and anti-Hinkie in the past.
No, this is here for Molly Qerim, who absolutely OWNS Colangelo at the very end.
After seeing what Joel Embiid tweeted immediately following the report linking the burner accounts to the Sixers general manager, the world was anxious for what he'd tweet once Colangelo was no longer a part of the organization, especially given his affinity for Hinkie. Instead, nothing.
And when he was finally reached for comment — by TMZSports, of course — Embiid offered the following, not-so-headline-grabbing take on his former GM.
"He was a great guy. He did a great job for us, so I wish him luck," Embiid said.
The TMZ camera person also asked Joel if Colangelo's departure meant the Process was starting over. Any longtime Sixers fan would be able to predict Embiid's answer to that.
"The Process is never starting over and it's never going to be over," Embiid told them. "There's a process for everything. It takes a lot to get where you wanna go and that's the process."'
"So, it's never gonna be over, it's never gonna restart." [h/t The700Level]
Here's the full video of Embiid via TMZSports.com:
Colangelo isn't the only person in the NBA to get caught up in a burner account scandal in recent years — remember Kevin Durant, who might never have been caught had he not accidentally tweeted from his own verified account instead of the burner? — so it stands to reason that there will be another one in the not-so-distant future.
And, like almost everything in the world these days, there are odds out on who goes down next.
Courtesy of Bookmaker.eu, here are the complete odds for which player will be caught with burner accounts next:
• Lonzo Ball +2000
• J.R. Smith +4000
• Rajon Rondo +6000
• Demarcus Cousins +7000
• Kyrie Irving +7000
• Carmelo Anthony +7000
• Draymond Green +8000
• Kawhi Leonard +8000
• Damian Lillard +8000
• Blake Griffin +9000
• Anthony Davis +10000
• Russell Westbrook +10000
• Stephen Curry +10000
• Giannis Antetokounmpo +10000
• No one gets caught -9000
No word yet on when you'll be able to (legally) bet on that in Pennsylvania, however.
Of course, if all this isn't enough drama for you, let's check in on Ben Simmons...
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