Bryan Colangelo: What A (Not Very) Long (Most Definitely) Strange Trip It’s Been

A man will lose his job. A job he frankly didn’t deserve in the first place.

Since last Tuesday’s The Ringer report linking Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo to five “burner” accounts, Twitter has been ablaze, inviting detectives posing as users to dig deeper into the accounts, which led to the discovery of Colangelo’s wife as the creator. It’s been intriguing for even the most casual of basketball fans, mocking some of the tweets centered on Colangelo’s collar size, but also understanding the seriousness included in some of the personal information revealed about current and former 76ers. After one of the more bizarre sports stories you’ll ever read, Colangelo will lose his job 25 months after he essentially was the only candidate interviewed to replace the iconic Sam Hinkie by his father, Jerry.

Everybody always says the 76ers “Trust the Process” 30 for 30 will be a must watch in the future. This situation only strengthens that claim. During the Hinkie Era, Losses happened at a frequent pace, players shuffled in and out like a heavily populated pick-up basketball scene and high draft picks sat out seasons due to injuries or other professional contracts. It’s stuff of legends, what Hinkie decided to do with ownership approval. The NBA, however, had enough, bringing the elder Colangelo in towards the end of 2015. Jerry “righted the ship” by hiring Mike D’Antoni to help head coach Brett Brown and trade for a competent point guard in Ish Smith. Philadelphia avoided the worst season in NBA history with an early April win over the Pelicans in a game that generated MVP chants for Carl Landry of all people. Days later, Hinkie stepped down as headman, because Jerry and ownership wanted to hire somebody to help him out. Then, after a “thorough search” that wasn’t all that thorough, Jerry hired his son over Danny Ferry (who was fired from his role with the Hawks for saying racist things about Luol Deng) within days.

Colangelo’s legacy includes drafting the consensus top pick in Ben Simmons, signing JJ Redick to a one-year deal and, even though Dario Saric said he would, bringing the Croatian big man over. It’s too early but Colangelo traded the third pick (Jayson Tatum) and an additional first for Markelle Fultz, which doesn’t appear to be a 76ers victory, based on how Tatum had the best rookie playoff run since Magic won a title nearly 40 years ago. Philadelphia never even brought in Tatum for a workout. It’s unclear what communication Colangelo had with Tatum’s camp, although Tatum did workout for the 76ers privately, just not in Philadelphia. The only lottery picks that worked out in Philadelphia, before the 76ers and Celtics swapped picks, were Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox. Colangelo made some decision beforehand that Tatum wasn’t worth consideration, allowing the Celtics to fleece Philadelphia. The trade, which happened almost a year ago, seemed necessary, as Fultz appeared to be the perfect complimentary to the non-shooting, six-foot-10 Simmons. The decision, mostly applauded initially because of how effective Fultz looked at Washington, took a turn for the worse as Fultz did something to his shoulder while changing his shot over the summer (which somehow wasn’t the weirdest element to this year’s 76ers season). More than one of the burner accounts took digs at Fultz, reporting sensitive information that only a handful of people knew. It’s impossible for Colangelo to keep his job. Even if the full report hasn’t been finished yet.

With the draft fewer than 17 days away and what’s labeled as the biggest off-season since the 76ers acquired Moses Malone way back when, the Colangelo situation being unearthed now registers as less than ideal on a hypothetical ideal scale. Philadelphia has six picks, including No. 10 overall. It makes sense to promote someone from within, at least for the near future. Major decisions await the 76ers front office, and having some familiarity should help.

People said Colangelo never had a fair shake in Philadelphia. It’s the reason why his wife had to allegedly defend him on Twitter. People disliked how Colangelo was hired, feeling that the NBA forced Philadelphia to band Hinkie from managing the team. He didn’t do a bad job, per say. There aren’t many decisions, besides failing to bring Tatum in for an interview and giving Jerryd Bayless a third year on the contract two summers ago, one could criticize Colangelo. The Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel situations, which played a heavy role in the burner Twitter fiasco, could have been handled better, especially the Okafor one. Hinkie royally screwed that draft day decision. He probably assumed he could flip the 2015 NCAA Champion for an asset sometime during his rookie season, but Okafor, keeping up with 76ers rookie tradition, was injured by February. Regardless, Colangelo should have traded Okafor before training camp as Joel Embiid finally began his rookie campaign. Actually acquiring a role wing player in Justin Anderson and future second round picks for Noel was a win for the 76ers, which didn’t appear to be the case in February 2017. Noel, who’s a free agent this summer, never found his footing in Dallas, partially due to his immature behavior.

This has been one of the more peculiar NBA stories you’ll see. A story that’s far from over yet. Woj reported Monday a law firm has been hired by the 76ers to dig deeper into the connection between Colangelo and the Twitter accounts. Later Monday Woj said the Colangelo and his wife would be interviewed separately. A resolution to this case will be uncovered soon, and it’ll most likely result in a man losing his job. A job he never deserved in the first place.

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