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.”