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Report: Bryan Colangelo overruled others 76ers executives who urged him to consider passing on Markelle Fultz

76ers Basketball

Philadelphia 76ers’ draft pick Markelle Fultz, left, and team president Bryan Colangelo speak during a news conference at the team’s NBA basketball training complex, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Camden, NJ. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


The 76ers are trying to separate themselves from former team president Bryan Colangelo, who resigned last week in the aftermath of his wife admitting to running multiple burner Twitter accounts that advanced a pro-Colangelo message and ripped many other people (including current Philadelphia players).

But the 76ers can’t completely divorce themselves from Colangelo. Beyond the lingering stench of the Twitter scandal, he made a franchise-altering move last summer.

Under Colangelo, Philadelphia traded the No. 3 pick and a valuable future first-rounder to move up to the No. 1 pick and get Markelle Fultz. Fultz struggled through a disappointing rookie year while Jayson Tatum, whom the Celtics took third, looked like a future star. No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball also looked more promising than Fultz.

But that doesn’t mean the 76ers aren’t trying to separate themselves from that deal.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:

after Fultz struggled in his workout with the Sixers last June, league sources say some Sixers front-office members suggested that despite making the trade, the team should have taken a second look at Tatum or Lonzo Ball. But the idea was shot down by Colangelo, according to sources. Fultz was the choice. There was no turning back.

Besides Colangelo, the 76ers’ front office largely remains in place. This sounds like other executives trying to improve their own career prospects – whether it’s ascending to Colangelo’s job, looking more attractive to other teams in event of a shakeup or even just trying to remain in place under Brett Brown’s leadership. That blunder made on our watch? It wasn’t me.

And maybe that’s fair. If these other executives were down on Fultz, that’d indicate their acumen in evaluating talent. The whole point of judging prior work in job searches should be to predict someone’s ability for that opening. (Likewise, these executives’ unseen misevaluations should also be considered, though people don’t leak those.)

But here’s the awkward part: Fultz also remains in Philadelphia. How does he like hearing other members of the organization wanted to pass on him? If he has a confidence problem, that won’t help.

This leak is self-serving by the people who made it – which gets to a fundamental flaw in Barbara Bottini’s logic. For people in the NBA to advance their own agendas, even at the expense of others in the same organization, there are better ways than burner Twitter accounts. Leak it to a reporter and receive anonymity. Nobody is calling for an investigation into O’Connor’s sources or saying they should be fired if discovered. Everyone is shaking their head at Colangelo, maybe feeling some way about Fultz, and moving on.