Bryan Colangelo

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Workouts, McConnell, Holmes

The Sixers insist the loss of Bryan Colangelo hasn’t affected their draft preparations, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Colangelo resigned last week as president of basketball operations after a Twitter-related scandal involving sensitive information released through burner accounts.

The front office has tried to stick to business as usual in his absence, conducting pre-draft workouts over the past three days. Coach Brett Brown has taken over Colangelo’s responsibilities on an interim basis, and draft decisions will be made as a group effort.

“I don’t think it’s going to change much, to be honest with you,” said VP of player personnel Marc Eversley. “All of our scouts have been on staff here for the past two years. I’ve been here for the last two years. You know, we’re in a position where we feel we are going to be able … to select somebody who’s going to be able to come in and help us contribute.”

There’s more tonight from Philadelphia:

  • After two days of bringing in high-profile prospects, today’s workout focused on potential second-round picks, summer leaguers and G League acquisitions, Pompey writes in a separate story. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter and Miami’s Bruce Brown highlighted the session, with Brown saying he is motivated by a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery in February and limited his effectiveness at the combine. “I just have a chip on my shoulder that I know I can get back to where I was,” said Brown, who was viewed as a possible lottery pick before the season began. “I know teams are going to believe in me, and believe that I can do that. So it just adds a chip on the shoulder, and I’m ready to go after guys that go before me.”
  • Today’s move to exercise team options on Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell could lead to free agency decisions next summer, Pompey notes in another piece. Both will have non-guaranteed $1.6MM salaries next season then will become unrestricted free agents if they aren’t signed to extensions. “Like I said, I want to be here,” McConnell said. “So I’m excited they picked it up. But that’s not going to change how I approach every day.”
  • The Sixers are in contention for the top players on the free agent market, but Brown promises they won’t spend recklessly if they don’t get their main targets, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Fultz, Brown, Bayless

Bryan Colangelo probably had no way to save his job as president of basketball operations, even if he had blamed the Twitter incident on his wife from the start, suggests Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Colangelo resigned Thursday after the completion of an investigation into burner accounts on Twitter that released sensitive information and made critical comments of Sixers players and opponents.

The law firm that investigated the matter concluded that Colangelo acted in a “reckless” and “careless” manner, even though the accounts belonged to his wife, Barbara Bottini. Investigators said they couldn’t prove Colangelo knew about the accounts, but there also isn’t strong evidence that he wasn’t aware of them.

Regardless, Hayes concludes that Colangelo had already lost trust among management and the players and that a change was necessary for the Sixers to move past the incident.

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Colangelo didn’t turn in a remarkable performance during his time with the Sixers, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. O’Connor states his best moves were the decision to retain coach Brett Brown and to add J.J. Redick in free agency last summer. However, Colangelo got little value when he shipped off Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, and he didn’t have any other significant signings or notable draft picks outside the lottery.
  • Colangelo ignored other voices in the organization who wanted to consider Jayson Tatum or Lonzo Ball after Markelle Fultz turned in a disappointing performance at last year’s pre-draft workout, O’Connor adds. Colangelo reportedly insisted on drafting Fultz after completing a deal with the Celtics that cost Philadelphia the rights to a future first-rounder from the Kings.
  • Brown won’t have much time to relax this summer with his new roles as GM and president of basketball operations in addition to his coaching responsibilities, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Brown will hold the front office positions until replacements can be found, but that might not happen until after the draft and the start of free agency. “My role in all of this is simply to provide a level of leadership with people I trust and respect and do the best I can while I’m here moving us forward,” Brown said.
  • One of Brown’s first major decisions will involve guard Jerryd Bayless, Pompey notes in the same piece. As they try to maximize cap space for a run at LeBron James or other elite free agents, the Sixers could be tempted to waive Bayless and stretch his $8.6 million salary over three seasons.

Charania’s Latest: Clippers, Doncic, Kawhi, RFAs, More

While no trades are likely to be completed until closer to – or during – draft night, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports believes there could be a lot of movement in this year’s draft, with several teams looking to trade up or down. Appearing today on Chris Mannix’s podcast, Charania pointed specifically to the Clippers as a team that has weighed the possibility of moving up. With the Nos. 12 and 13 picks currently in hand, L.A. could put together an intriguing package, and they’ve looked “heavily” at Real Madrid star Luka Doncic, according to Charania.

Here are more highlights from Charania’s appearance on the Yahoo Sports NBA podcast:

  • Addressing the Kawhi Leonard situation in San Antonio, Charania indicated that an extension or a trade are the probable outcomes for the star forward this summer — it’s unlikely that the Spurs would keep him for next season without a new deal in place. However, both sides are interested in mending fences and clearing up last season’s miscommunications. Leonard is also nearing 100% health and should be ready to go to start next season, Charania adds.
  • In a look at the restricted free agent market, Charania identified Magic forward Aaron Gordon and Bulls guard Zach LaVine as two players who could command max or near-max deals and are unlikely to change teams. He also speculated that the Suns, Kings, and Pacers are among the clubs with cap room who could be fits for Celtics RFA Marcus Smart, and said that there seems to be mutual interest between the Mavericks and Julius Randle.
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet and Bulls swingman David Nwaba are two under-the-radar restricted free agents in line for sizable raises, in Charania’s view. He expects both players to land deals worth more than $5MM, noting that Toronto may have to use its full Early Bird exception (approximately $8.5MM) to retain VanVleet.
  • While outside observers around the NBA remain skeptical about the Thunder‘s chances of re-signing Paul George, Oklahoma City is still exuding confidence, according to both Charania and Mannix. Charania observes that George and Russell Westbrook have become “really close,” which could factor into the forward’s decision.
  • Many people around the league don’t expect former Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo to get another NBA job anytime soon, if at all, per Charania.

Sixers Notes: Colangelo Fallout, Brown, GM Search

It has been an eventful day in Philadelphia, where the Sixers announced that president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has resigned from his position following an investigation into several burner Twitter accounts connected to him. Independent investigators hired by the franchise concluded that Colangelo’s wife Barbara was behind the tweets, but suggested that Colangelo himself was “careless” and “in some instances reckless” with sensitive information, a charge he strongly disputed in his own statement.

Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com provides another fascinating detail on the saga, writing that multiple people who spoke on the condition of anonymity indicated that special advisor Jerry Colangelo attempted to intervene on his son’s behalf, delaying the team’s decision. According to Neubeck’s sources, the elder Colangelo may have threatened to interfere with Sixers relationships around the NBA.

As the 76ers look to recover from an unexpected and unusual setback, let’s round up a few more notes out of Philadelphia…

  • While head coach Brett Brown will run the basketball operations department on an interim basis, he said today he has no interest in taking on that role permanently, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge.
  • According to Sixers principal owner Josh Harris, the club would like to have a new general manager in place before the start of free agency on July 1. However, Harris acknowledged that a full-fledged search may take a little longer than that (Twitter link via Aldridge).
  • In the view of Jake Fischer of SI.com, the Sixers should exercise patience when it comes to picking a new GM, focusing on finding the perfect fit for the job rather than rushing to bring someone new on board within the next few weeks.
  • With a big summer looming for the Sixers, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton takes a closer look at the next steps for the franchise, both in terms of possible player acquisitions and front office changes.
  • Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype offers up some names to watch as the Sixers’ search for a GM gets underway.

Bryan Colangelo Issues Statement Following Resignation

Less than an hour after the Sixers sent out a press release announcing that president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has resigned from his position with the franchise, Colangelo has responded, issuing an announcement of his own.

In detailing the findings of their investigation, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP indicated that Colangelo’s wife Barbara was behind the rogue Twitter accounts, adding that there was no evidence Colangelo himself knew about them.

However, the law firm suggested that the Sixers’ president of basketball operations “was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization.”

Colangelo disputed that notion in strong terms in his own statement:

“While I am grateful that the independent investigation conducted by the 76ers has confirmed that I had no knowledge of or involvement in the Twitter activity conducted by my wife, I vigorously dispute the allegation that my conduct was in any way reckless. At no point did I ever purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her.

“Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognize how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent. Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions. While this was obviously a mistake, we are a family and we will work through this together.

“Although I am not directly responsible for the actions, I regret this incident occurred and understand that it has become a distraction for the team. Therefore, the organization and I have mutually agreed to part ways.”

For more details on Colangelo’s departure from the Sixers, be sure to check out our full story.

Sixers, Bryan Colangelo Agree To Part Ways

The Sixers and president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo have agreed to part ways, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). According to Wojnarowski, the club will hold a news conference this afternoon with team ownership to discuss the move. The Sixers have issued a press release officially confirming the decision.

While Philadelphia’s announcement classifies Colangelo’s departure as a resignation, he won’t be leaving his post in Philadelphia entirely of his own accord. The veteran executive found himself mired in controversy last week after a report from Ben Detrick of The Ringer linked five “burner” Twitter accounts to Colangelo.

Of those five anonymous Twitter accounts – which were strikingly similar in terms of content, tone, follows, and likes – four seemingly shared inside information on the 76ers and tipped team strategy. They also criticized current and former Sixers players, including Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Nerlens Noel, and defended Colangelo’s track record with the franchise.

After Detrick sent an inquiry to the Sixers asking about two of the five accounts, Colangelo issued a statement claiming ownership of one of them, which had never posted a tweet, denying knowledge of the other. Simultaneously, the three other accounts – which Detrick didn’t mention in his inquiry to the Sixers – went dark, switching from public to private.

The Sixers hired Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to investigate those Twitter accounts, and the law firm issued a statement today, confirming that Colangelo’s wife Barbara was behind the tweets. The statements reads, in part:

“The evidence supports the conclusion that Ms. Barbara Bottini, Mr. Colangelo’s wife, established the Twitter accounts and posted content on those accounts. When interviewed, Ms. Bottini admitted establishing and operating the accounts. Forensic evidence corroborates her admissions.

“We cannot conclude that Mr. Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts prior to the May 22 press inquiry. Mr. Colangelo denies any such awareness and we have not observed any forensic evidence establishing that he had knowledge of the Twitter accounts prior to that date. We note, however, that our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini, including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review.

“Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club-related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization.”

[RELATED: Bryan Colangelo issues statement following resignation]

Colangelo had been the Sixers’ president of basketball operations since April 2016, when he was hired by the franchise to replace Sam Hinkie as the top decision-maker in the front office. With the help of the groundwork laid by Hinkie, Colangelo continued to shape the roster over the last two years by adding a pair of No. 1 picks in Ben Simmons and Fultz, along with veteran free agents like J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson.

The Sixers returned to the postseason this spring for the first time since 2012 and won a first-round playoff series over the Heat before being eliminated by Boston. The club is well positioned to make some noise in free agency this summer, with significant cap room available.

According to the Sixers, head coach Brett Brown will take over as the club’s head of basketball operations on an interim basis as the 2018 free agent period nears. Brown and new lead assistant Monty Williams are expected to play key roles in recruiting potential targets. However, Brown won’t run the front office permanently. The team indicated in today’s announcement that the search for a new general manager will begin immediately.

While many Sixers fans will clamor for the return of Hinkie, former Cavaliers GM David Griffin could be a more logical and realistic candidate to replace Colangelo, given Philadelphia’s reported interest in top free agent LeBron James. While there’s no confirmation yet that the 76ers will reach out to Griffin, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) calls it a “no-brainer” for the team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Draft Notes: Sixers, Bulls, Diallo, Raptors

The Sixers, who hold the 10th and 26th picks in the 2018 NBA draft, continue to take a closer look at potential early- and late-first-round picks. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter links), Philadelphia will have an interesting pair of prospects participating in a group workout next Monday when they bring in Miami guard Lonnie Walker and MSU forward Miles Bridges. Both players are considered potential lottery selections, making them options at No. 10.

Duke’s Grayson Allen, a possible candidate for the No. 26 pick, participated in a workout today for the Sixers, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, Allen – who will also work out for the Celtics on Friday, per Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) – wasn’t the most notable person present at the session.

According to Pompey, embattled president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was in attendance at today’s workout. While that doesn’t mean that the Sixers have made a decision one way or the other on Colangelo’s future, it certainly doesn’t seem like bad news for him.

Here’s more on pre-draft workouts from around the Eastern Conference:

Sixers Ownership Met To Discuss Colangelo’s Future

The Sixers‘ ownership group convened in New York on Tuesday evening, talking for several hours about whether head of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo should be fired based on the findings in an investigation into several burner Twitter accounts, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, the 76ers could reach a decision on Wednesday.

As Wojnarowski has previously reported, the investigation into those Twitter accounts, which published tweets critical of Sixers players and revealed sensitive information, has increasingly focused on Colangelo’s wife Barbara.

Both Colangelo and his wife were interviewed by investigators for several hours on Sunday and Monday. While those interviews took place separately, Sixers ownership is struggling to separate Colangelo from his wife when it comes to the tweets in question, if she did in fact post them, Wojnarowski writes.

With Colangelo’s future up in the air, the Sixers are looking ahead to next month’s free agent period with the intent of putting Brett Brown “front and center” in presentations to top players, according to Wojnarowski, who adds that the hiring of Monty Williams as Brown’s top assistant could have an impact on discussions with free agents too. Both Brown and Williams have strong reputations with players around the NBA.

The 76ers could also rely on assistant GMs Marc Eversley and Ned Cohen to help navigate the coming offseason if they decide to move on from Colangelo, Woj observes.

Latest On Bryan Colangelo Investigation

The Sixers hired the law firm of Paul/Weiss to independently investigate a potential connection between president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and a handful of burner Twitter accounts, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, the 76ers are pushing for a resolution on the situation within the next few days.

The law firm is the same one that was hired by the National Basketball Players Association in 2013 to look into the business practices of former executive director Billy Hunter. According to Wojnarowski, Paul/Weiss is believed to be using cyberintelligence consultants to aid the investigation, with Colangelo giving up his electronic devices as part of the probe.

Wojnarowski reports that the Paul/Weiss investigation has become primarily focused on Colangelo’s wife Barbara as the possible author of a number of tweets that criticized Sixers players and revealed private information about them. The tweets from the anonymous accounts also discussed proposed trades, former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, and Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, who took over for Colangelo in Toronto.

While Colangelo continues to insist that he had no previous knowledge of any of the tweets, which may have been published by his wife, there’s skepticism “inside and outside” the Sixers in regard to that claim, says Wojnarowski.

Describing the Philadelphia ownership group as “angry” and “embarrassed,” Woj writes that there have been discussions about firing Colangelo, adding that team ownership “has been reluctant to separate Colangelo from any family member or close associate responsible” for the tweets.

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Free Agents, Embiid

If president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo gets fired over an alleged Twitter scandal, he will be remembered for several important decisions that set the direction of the franchise, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey states that Colangelo’s best move in his two-year tenure has been drafting Ben Simmons with the top pick in 2016. Although it seems like an easy choice now, Pompey recalls a debate over whether Simmons or Brandon Ingram was the better selection.

On the downside, Colangelo will be remembered for a bold move to trade up to No. 1 in last year’s draft. He wound up with Markelle Fultz, who played just 14 games as a rookie, while the Celtics landed a potential star in Jayson Tatum, along with another first-rounder in 2019.

Colangelo also got very little in return when he traded lottery picks Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, Pompey adds. Opposing GMs knew he wanted to unload both young centers and took advantage of his position. Colangelo sent Noel to Dallas for Justin Anderson and Andrew Bogut, who was bought out, plus a pair of second-round picks.  Okafor was dealt to the Nets along with Nik Stauskas and two second-rounders for Trevor Booker, who asked to be waived two months later when the Sixers signed Ersan Ilyasova.

There’s more this morning from Philadelphia:

  • Colangelo will have a difficult time keeping his job, no matter what happens in the investigation, contends Scott Stinson of The National Post. Even if his wife or another family member was running the Twitter “burner” accounts, the information passed on was too damaging to overlook, Stinson writes.
  • LeBron James tops the Sixers’ free agent wish list, but the team will have to make moves to improve its bench if he doesn’t come to town, notes Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. There could be plenty of turnover this summer with Ilyasova, Marco Belinelli and Amir Johnson all headed for free agency and the team holding an option on Richaun Holmes. Camerato looks at the NBA Finals rosters and identifies six possibilities for the Sixers: Jeff Green, Rodney Hood and Jose Calderon from the Cavaliers and Nick Young, David West and Kevon Looney from the Warrriors.
  • Being part of the third annual NBA Africa Game in August will be important for Cameroon-born Joel Embiid, according to an article in More Sport“I was fortunate to participate in Basketball Without Borders [BWB] Africa first as a camper and then last year as a coach,” he said. “To play in the NBA’s third game in Africa is truly special to me, and I can’t wait to take the floor in front of our fans in Africa.”