76ers

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

Sixers take out frustrations on Cavaliers in blowout win

Sixers take out frustrations on Cavaliers in blowout win

BOX SCORE

If ever a team needed a laugher, it was the Sixers.

After dropping five straight road games, they took their frustrations out on the Cavaliers in a 114-95 win at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Sunday.

It’s the Sixers’ first victory away from home since their thrilling win in Portland on Nov. 2. They improve to 8-5 on the young season. They’re back at the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday to take on the Knicks (7 p.m./NBCSP)

Here are observations from the win.

That’s how you get right

The first few possessions were not great for the Sixers defensively. It looked like another game that could be doomed by poor pick-and-roll defense and turnovers — a familiar theme throughout the young season. 

Boy, did that change in a hurry. 

The Sixers got a nice defensive boost from James Ennis, ending the first quarter on a 17-4 run and assisting on 12 of their first 15 makes. They played smothering defense and turned that into easy offense.

It was by far the Sixers’ best half of the season as they shot 68.3 percent from the field, committed just five turnovers and outscored the Cavs, 68-44. 

The most encouraging thing is that they didn’t let up. They kept their foot on the gas and never let Cleveland back in the game.

This is what it was supposed to look like

The Sixers had lost five of their last seven, which exacerbated the issues of the starting five. On Sunday, they looked like a well-oiled machine. We saw the “bully ball” offense out in full force. With their size, the Sixers are going to have mismatches pretty much every night. It was a clear emphasis against the Cavs. 

You saw Ben Simmons find Josh Richardson for a wide open three out of the post. Tobias Harris got doubled in the post and found Joel Embiid for an easy bucket. Al Horford ran the pick-and-pop with Simmons for a short jumper. 

No, Cleveland is not a defensive juggernaut, but this was the most encouraging offensive showing by the starters this season. At times, their ball movement was unreal. Now it’s about taking this performance into their next game.

It’s worth noting that Harris appears to be off the schneid as he stuffed the stat sheet with a game-high 27 points (12 of 14), five rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.

When Jo and Ben are at their best …

For those screaming that Embiid needs to be in the post, this had to be refreshing. There’s no secret to it. Brett Brown didn’t make any crazy adjustments. It boils down to Embiid running rim to rim instead of three-point line to three-point line. He got down the floor and got early position for easy post ups. He screened and rolled hard to the rim as well, which makes a huge difference. He was his dominant self Sunday, but more importantly, he played just a little over 22 minutes.

Though as mentioned it was against the Cavs, it’s always encouraging to see both Embiid and Simmons get going in the same game. Cedi Osman was no match for Simmons. Simmons took him off the dribble and punished him in the post. Simmons also continues to be strong defensively. He looks more engaged this season and well on his way to earning some type of All-Defensive Team honors. 

He finished with 10 points, 11 assists, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal in just under 26 minutes.

Boost from the bench

The Sixers got just 11 points from their bench Friday in Oklahoma City. The reserves had 20 at the half Sunday.

Ennis was a huge part of that. He hit a trio of corner threes and was active defensively and on the glass throughout. Ennis has given the Sixers solid run his last three games. He had a season-high 14 points.

It’s clear that Furkan Korkmaz has cooled from his torrid pace, but it was good to see the Turkish wing put the ball on the floor and make a couple plays for 13 points. Rookie Matisse Thybulle was good in his first-half run, hitting a three and finishing on a rare drive. Trey Burke got the backup point guard minutes over Raul Neto.

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Sixers at Cavaliers: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers at Cavaliers: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

The Sixers (7-5) will look to get back into the win column in Cleveland when they take on the Cavaliers (4-7) this afternoon.

Here are the essentials for today’s game:

When: 3 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m.
Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+ 
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

Time to get right

There’s no such thing as a good loss, but man, the Sixers’ losses have been particularly brutal. On Friday night, they held a nine-point lead with 7:20 to go but gave up a 12-2 run and eventually lost in overtime to the Thunder.

The Sixers have glaring issues — especially in their starting five — but Brett Brown feels like he knows what they are.

“If you're sick and you don't know why, that's a problem,” Brown said. “We are in a tough spot right now, but it's a long year. I think that it doesn't take much for me to understand where we have to get better. And it's really that simple. If you're scratching your head, sort of confused, then I think we got some problems and that's not what I'm doing. I think the guys understand the areas that matter most that can best impact changing the way things are going and get back on the winning side.”

We'll see.

Taking care of business

This Cavs team isn’t as bad as perhaps we all thought coming into this season. They start two extremely young guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, but they’re still flanked by veteran bigs Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.

Cleveland also gave the Sixers all they could handle earlier this week — especially veteran guard Jordan Clarkson (20 points). The Sixers were able to sneak out of the Wells Fargo Center with a 98-97 win. Then again, when is the last time this team played a game that wasn’t close?

While the Cavs are maybe better than anticipated, this is a team the Sixers should be able to get well against. On Tuesday, they held Cleveland scoreless for over three minutes to close out the game. They need to bring that for 48 minutes and get right with a win over a team they’re clearly more talented than. 

Sorting out the bench

Furkan Korkmaz was scorching hot for a six-game stretch. He shot 50.9 percent from three and averaged 13.8 points in mostly bench minutes. In his last three games, he’s just 4 of 16 from distance. The issue with Korkmaz is if he’s not hitting shots, he doesn’t bring much else to the table. You saw Oklahoma City pick on him in overtime after Tobias Harris fouled out.

Korkmaz has been getting the most minutes off Brown’s bench recently. Should he be? Rookie Matisse Thybulle got off to a roaring start, but has looked overmatched offensively. With that said, he’s just so special defensively, Brown should deal with the growing pains on the other end. In games Thybulle has played at least 12 minutes, the Sixers are 6-1.

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