In a rare showing of emotion, Josh Harris was defiant on this day.
Harris was sitting at the podium to officially introduce Bryan Colangelo as president of basketball operations. The Sixers’ managing partner was getting peppered with questions about Sam Hinkie’s departure and how the hiring of the younger Colangelo reeked of nepotism.
“I understand the optics of it, but the reality is Bryan was head and shoulders above every other candidate,” Harris said on April 10, 2016. “The reality is the optics of it are something we’re now managing with you all. … I went with Bryan because he was the best guy for the job. Jerry (Colangelo), truthfully to be fair to Bryan and be fair to himself and to be fair to us, recused himself from the entire process. He wasn’t involved. I think that he was on board for the approach, but he wasn’t involved with it.
“This was really my decision, and now we’re managing the optics. It just so happens that Bryan was the best guy for the job and we also had his Hall of Fame dad along in the organization. I made the decision that it was worth managing those optics to get such a talented guy in our organization.”
Fast-forward two years and the Sixers are still managing the optics of perceived Colangelo family interference.
This time, it has to do with Colangelo’s reported involvement in a Twitter scandal that included five accounts accused of everything from ripping players on the Sixers’ own roster to floating potential trade scenarios.
Colangelo denied knowledge of the accounts other than using one for reference purposes as the Sixers launched an investigation into the matter. The team holds a general belief that he’s telling the truth, a source told NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark (see story), as the focus of the probe has reportedly turned toward his wife.
Yeah, another sticky Colangelo family situation for the Sixers to navigate through whether they decide to keep him around or not. As of right now, Colangelo still holds his position and was reportedly at the team’s pre-draft workout on Wednesday.
That would make things even more complex moving forward. After all, we’re not talking about a ball boy or the team trainer. This is the franchise president. This is the man in the room to make pitches to free agents, scouting players to draft, negotiating deals with coaches and the list goes on.
You would like that person to be thought of on the highest level around the league. Like someone who once said, “… I really do think every decision starts with character. We’re going to put some processes in place. Some standards will be put into this discussion that we’ll live by and abide by. Decisions about the roster, as we speak today, will be made with that in mind. So it’s a basketball decision but it’s also a character and people decision as well.”
That was Colangelo during that same press conference discussing the type of people that will be brought into the fold by the Sixers under his watch. And while nobody is suggesting that some tweets, no matter how out of bounds, are a complete depiction of his character, the fact that it’s even a question is not a good look.
More bad optics for the Sixers. More bad optics that the team is now forced to manage all over again.