76ers

Bryan Colangelo saga forces Sixers to manage more family optics

Bryan Colangelo saga forces Sixers to manage more family optics

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.

Tobias Harris keeps the Sixers entertained on their bus ride to Toronto

Tobias Harris keeps the Sixers entertained on their bus ride to Toronto

Around 10:30 p.m. Monday night, we were blessed with a Ben Simmons Instagram Live video of "DJ Tobi," Tobias Harris, on the Sixers’ bus from the airport to the hotel.

“There’s a soul plane and there’s a soul bus. You’re on the soul bus, ya dig?”

DJ Tobi then proceeded to interview all the players, coaches and team personnel who entered the bus, as you can see in the videos below, which do contain profanity. 

“State your name, where are you from and where are you going,” head coach Brett Brown said Tuesday morning, laughing about last night’s bus ride. “And when there is a lull, he's got Spotify hooked up, and he's got some hip hop going on.”

“DJ Tobi,” Matisse Thybulle laughed, struggling to find the words for Harris’ performance. “He was putting on a show for everyone. … It was funny because you were seeing people out of their comfort zone.”

With the rigors of an NBA season, and through all the travel, bus rides and plane rides, the value of that type of team bonding can go underestimated.

“It's team bonding,” Simmons told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We're a pretty close group. We like to have fun and there are a lot of different characters and personalities on the team. … It's awesome. But that's just who we are as a team, everyone just likes to have fun, everyone has good personalities and means well."

Of course, it’s easier when you’re winning, and the Sixers delivered one of their most impressive defensive performances of the year in their win over Brooklyn, led by Simmons and Thybulle.

“We could carry that good energy over,” Thybulle said of the win over the Nets. “But it definitely help to keeps things light because the travel gets tedious and boring.”

For the Brown, it’s yet another characteristic he’s seen blossom out of Harris.

“Leadership comes in all different forms … and he does it naturally,” Brown said.

“It’s what makes team sport, for me, as enjoyable as it gets, when you can win with people that you respect and trust that care. And this group does.”

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Jameer Nelson, Phil Martelli react to troubling Delonte West video

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Jameer Nelson, Phil Martelli react to troubling Delonte West video

Troubling video surfaced Monday on social media of former Saint Joseph’s great and NBA player Delonte West.

The 36-year-old appeared to get into a physical altercation and then was recorded spewing profanities with his hands behind his back. The video contains inappropriate language.

On Monday night, West’s former college teammate Jameer Nelson and head coach Phil Martelli voiced their concern and offered support.

West has opened up in the past about his battle with bipolar disorder and run-ins with the law. The most notable incident was when he was pulled over in Maryland on a three-wheeled motorcycle and subsequently arrested and charged with speeding and two counts of carrying a handgun.

When he was on Hawk Hill, West starred during his sophomore and junior seasons alongside Nelson. The duo led St. Joe’s on an incredible run in 2004. The Hawks were the No. 1 team in the country at one point and earned a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost in a thriller in the Elite 8 to two-seed Oklahoma State.

After choosing to forego his senior season, West was selected by the Boston Celtics with the 24th overall pick. He last played in the NBA with the Mavericks in 2012 and his professional career ended in 2015 after a brief stint in the G League.