Bryan Colangelo resigns as Sixers president

Bryan Colangelo resigns as Sixers president

Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has resigned from his post.

The decision comes nine days after The Ringer reported Colangelo could be behind multiple Twitter accounts whose activity included disclosing non-public information and criticizing Sixers players and head coach Brett Brown (see story).

The Sixers launched an independent investigation, which concluded that Barbara Bottini, Colangelo's wife was responsible for "establishing and operating the accounts."

Head coach Brett Brown will oversee basketball operations in Colangelo's absence.

"We appreciate Bryan's many contributions during his time leading our basketball operations and thank him for the work he did in positioning the team for long-term success," Sixers managing partner Josh Harris said in a statement.

"It has become clear Bryan's relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised."

Colangelo maintained his innocence and denied any knowledge of his wife's actions in a statement of his own. Read his bizarre defense here.

The Ringer article was published last Tuesday night, sparking days of twists and turns until the final decision was announced. While the Sixers were working on their own investigation, NBA Twitter was doing the same. Conspiracy theories emerged linking Colangelo’s wife to many of the accounts (see story).

Other social media sleuths tried to determine the source of the tip for the article.

NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark spoke with Colangelo on Thursday upon his arrival at Philadelphia International Airport, where Colangelo said he was “fully unaware of anything” related to the situation and “stands by his (previous) statement,” (see story).

Later that night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, “The first thing we have to do here is determine what the actual facts are in this circumstance.” Silver noted, “It’s not necessarily something that we want to be talking about. But it’s the reality of this league,” (see story).

The publication of The Ringer article sparked a huge response on social media, most noticeably from Joel Embiid (see story). The Sixers' center liked negative tweets about himself from the alleged accounts and delivered his own verified message:

Embiid then tweeted:

Colangelo’s tenure with the Sixers was relatively short. The organization hired him in April of 2016, four days after Sam Hinkie resigned as general manager and president of basketball operations through a 13-page letter.

“I just want to be very clear that this is not about a departure from a process, a departure from a strategy,” Colangelo said at his introductory press conference. “This is a moving forward with everything that’s already been established, everything that’s in place, and we’re going to be measured in our continued building of this organization.”

Colangelo was at the helm for the 2016 NBA draft in which the Sixers, after going 10-72 the previous season, landed the No. 1 pick and selected Ben Simmons.

The following year, Colangelo completed a deal that will be debated for the foreseeable future: trading the Sixers' No. 3 overall pick and a future first-round pick to the Celtics in exchange for the No. 1 pick to draft Markelle Fultz and place him alongside Simmons. Fultz suffered a shoulder injury and appeared in just 17 games between the regular season and playoffs. Jayson Tatum, who the Celtics selected at No. 3, was a key piece to their Eastern Conference Finals run and is a Rookie of the Year finalist.

Free agency was a major component in building the Sixers' roster this season. Colangelo stood by the priority of maintaining salary cap flexibility, which will allow the Sixers to be a player in the free-agent hunt this summer for a star like LeBron James. The news of The Ringer report just over a month from the start of free agency, however, created the question of how this information would impact the Sixers in the market.

The timing of the Colangelo decision comes at an unideal part of the NBA schedule. Not only is free agency around the corner, but the Sixers also hold six picks in the draft on June 21.

More on Colangelo's resignation

Josh Harris doesn't rule out possible Sam Hinkie return

• Harris reveals results of investigation

• Colangelo releases bizarre statement on his resignation

How Sixers actually benefit from Colangelo mess

• I believed Colangelo, too — and he still had to go

• Did Sixers fall behind in draft prep during investigation

Shake Milton on NBA return: 'I don’t really think we should be playing'

Shake Milton on NBA return: 'I don’t really think we should be playing'

It wasn’t surprising to hear Joel Embiid say he “hated the idea” of the bubble or Mike Scott voice his displeasure for the NBA’s jersey idea.

It was mildly surprising to hear second-year guard Shake Milton take the strongest stance when it came to the NBA’s decision to resume the season.

I don’t really think we should be playing,” Milton said in a video conference call with reporters Tuesday, “but I think the NBA is doing all that they can to make the environment as safe as possible. My teammates want to play so we’re going to go down there and try to win.

When asked why specifically he thought the league shouldn’t resume play, he provided a poignant response.

I think [the spread of the virus], and then also I feel like there’s a lot of other stuff going on,” Milton said. “There are issues going on right now in the world that are way bigger than a sport, way bigger than the game of basketball. I feel like we’re on the cusp of finally having people tune in and really try to listen and try to understand more about the things that are happening in our country. I feel like the moment is too big right now and I don’t want the game of basketball to overshadow it.

Perhaps lost in the shuffle of so many things being shared on social media was Milton posting something that seemed a bit out of character for the soft-spoken 23-year-old. 

Milton is a native of Owasso, Oklahoma, a northern suburb of Tulsa. The 23-year-old has shared various posts about the city and the Tulsa race massacre that occured in 1921 as well as posts about Breonna Taylor, the Louisville EMT who was fatally shot by police while sleeping in her apartment.

While he’s glad to see the league wants to keep the message in the public scope, he’s curious to know how they’ll do it.

I think [the NBA trying to highlight racial injustice is] good — I think we should definitely do it,” Milton said. “I want to know how we’re going to go about doing it, that’s really my concern. I heard ideas about the names on the back of the jerseys and putting stuff on the court, but I kind of want to see what the NBA is actually going to do. That’s cool and all, but that’s kind of like the same as having a T-shirt where you see somebody’s face and it says RIP on the back. That’s only going to take you so far. So I’m interested to see what else the NBA has planned and what else they’re going to do.

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Sixers' Joel Embiid doesn't believe in the NBA's restart plan

Sixers' Joel Embiid doesn't believe in the NBA's restart plan

Joel Embiid intends to travel with the Sixers to Orlando for the NBA’s resumption, but he is not confident in the league’s plan and does not endorse it.

On a video conference call Tuesday, the All-Star center explained why he does not support the NBA heading to Florida during the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to conclude the 2019-20 season with a champion.

I hated the idea,” Embiid said. “I feel like with everything that has been going on, it’s unfortunate what’s been going on in the world. Obviously people look at it in a different way. There might be some other reasons behind everything going on. To me, that part never mattered. To me, all I want is to stay healthy and stay safe, keep the people around me safe. I want to make sure I’m able to live for a long time and not have any sort of consequences in the future from this if I were to be in a situation where I was getting the virus. 

“Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the idea. But then again, I’m going to do my job. I’m not going to let the city down. I’m going to represent my city — that’s what I’ve always done — my family, my teammates. The mindset doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter the fact that I don’t like that idea and I still don’t believe in it. I don’t think it’s going to be safe enough.

“Because I know I’m going to do the right things, I know I don’t ever do anything, I only play video games, I’m always home — I don’t do anything. But then again, I don’t trust those other guys to do the same. But, like I said, I’ve gotta do my job.

The Sixers will travel to Walt Disney World on Thursday and are scheduled to resume play on Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers. There’s been a spike in coronavirus cases in Florida, which reportedly has raised concerns around the league. Positive coronavirus tests during the NBA’s Phase 2 protocol have prompted several teams to shut down their facilities, including the Bucks, Heat and Clippers. 

There have been over 2.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States and over 130,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the country, according to NBC News

Embiid said he considered opting out but felt obligated to play. 

I thought about it,” he said, “but then again, I wouldn’t let my teammates down. I play in a city that’s tough and I consider myself as being tough … I’m not going to give up that easily. If you told me that the current trend is that people are getting sick and a lot of people are dying, obviously you don’t know what's going to happen and you don’t want to be in a situation where you put your life at risk ... and all that stuff, just for what? The money and all that stuff. At the end of the day, basketball is not all that matters. I've got family, I've got myself to look out for. That's all I care about.

"At the end, when it’s all said and done, basketball shouldn’t define me. I should be looked at as just Joel Embiid the person. Like I said, it’s unfortunate but I want to represent my city. I've been here too long. This is my opportunity. I believe we have a great chance of winning the championship. Still not 100 percent sure, but that's what I'm thinking. I want to represent the city. I don’t want to let my teammates down, I don't want to let anybody down. I’ve been working too hard for this and I've just got to keep pushing and hope for the best. 

Embiid sees no reason why he personally will have any trouble adhering to the NBA’s health protocols, which detail everything from testing procedures to physical distancing mandates to approved recreational activities. But he’s somewhat skeptical that more outgoing NBA players will follow all precautions to minimize the risk of coronavirus exposure. 

“I look at myself and I’ve been doing this for quite a bit now — six, seven years,” he said. “Like I said, all I do is play video games and stay in my room on the road, or even when I’m home. Just stay home, play video games, do what I've got to do. Just being with my family. 

“And obviously we’re all different. Some guys like to go out and some guys like to do stuff, (there are) some guys that like adventure. So that’s the way I’m thinking. I know myself. I know I’m not going to put everybody else at risk, but the question is, is everybody else going to do the same? And just being around this business, I surely don’t think so.”

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