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Trust the process? Sixers hire Jerry Colangelo to lead basketball operations

Jerry Colangelo, Josh Harris

Jerry Colangelo, Josh Harris


This doesn’t mean “the process” — stockpiling draft picks and being bad to get good — has completely changed. But things are going to look a little different in Philadelphia now.

At a press conference Monday majority owner Joshua Harris said he wants the process to move a bit more quickly. So he made a move.

Jerry Colangelo, the man who spent the past decade as the chairman of USA Basketball, has been hired as “Special Advisor to the Managing General Partner and Chairman of Basketball Operations,” the team announced. What that means is he’s got the owner’s ear and is above GM Sam Hinkie in the pecking order. His voice has vinal say.

“Jerry Colangelo is one of the most respected people in basketball and we are excited to add his five decades of knowledge, relationships and experience to help drive our organization forward,” Harris said in a released statement.

This is a smart move, but it’s as much about perception as reality.

Bringing in Colangelo looks good — to the minority owners for the Sixers tired of losing who had been vocal (off the record) in their complaints, to the fans tired of a plan they don’t see working out yet, and to agents around the league who (unless the money was better than other options) tried to steer clients away from Philly (one of the reasons no vets on the roster). Colangelo is respected around the league.

However, the changes may not be as deep as some are expecting. Starting with, it is not expected that Hinkie is going anywhere anytime soon, both according to sources I heard from and other reports around the league. Colangelo’s voice will be in the mix, and he will have the final say.

"(Hinkie) is in the position where he’ll make the call on the final decision, but that’s after a lot of collaboration with us,” Colangelo said at the press conference.

It is possible Hinkie doesn’t like being bumped down the pecking order and slides out in six months or more, or not depending on how he works with Colangelo. But he’s not out the door right now.

Also, coach Brett Brown — who has gotten this roster to play hard and has done as good a job as could be expected — is going anywhere either. From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

What all this means is don’t expect a 180, a radical shift of plans — the process will continue. As it should, just modified. With all the draft picks the Sixers have lined up the next couple seasons, the best thing that can happen to them is some lottery luck and smart drafting. Top free agents are not going to want suddenly to come to Philly, not until a foundation of young talent is put in place and given a little time to solidify. They need to get and develop that talent.

But it sounds like there will be some changes, at his press conference Colangelo threw a little shade at Hinkie.

“There seems to be a void of leadership, player wise,” Colangelo said. Meaning expect some vets to be brought in and paid a little.

Some of those stockpiled assets may be moved to make way for viable, somewhat established NBA players. That’s not a bad idea.