Just Tuesday, Vegas had the Sixers as the favorite to land LeBron James.
Well, that was fun while it lasted.
With the bizarre story regarding Bryan Colangelo and his alleged multiple burner Twitter accounts from The Ringer dropping Tuesday night, the Sixers have serious work to do and the team said in a statement it has launched an internal investigation.
They better hurry.
The Sixers are kind of damned if they do, damned if they don’t right now. If they clear Colangelo of any wrongdoing, they better have supreme evidence to back it up. The Ringer story isn’t bulletproof, but there are a lot of facts that make it seem like much more than a coincidence. If it’s a frame job, it’s a damn good one. NBA Twitter has already latched onto this story, so it may be tough for Colangelo in the court of public opinion. Fair or not, perception is reality.
If Colangelo is ultimately relieved of his duties, it doesn’t make it much easier for the Sixers. They now have to scramble to find a new president — *insert joke about them hiring Sam Hinkie* — before the NBA Finals are over and the offseason begins.
This is arguably the Sixers’ most important offseason ever, certainly of the last decade. They have two young superstars who are just scratching the surface of their abilities. They have a chance to land the best player in the world — maybe the greatest of all-time. There are also multiple options to add a superstar through free agency or via trade. If Colangelo is cleared by the team, will that be good enough for LeBron James and/or Paul George and/or Kawhi Leonard? For James, it’s arguably the biggest offseason of his career as he drifts into the twilight — peak? — of his career.
In addition to free agency, the NBA draft is just about three weeks away. The Sixers hold two first-round picks: Nos. 10 and 26. At this point, Colangelo’s scouting teams have already done their homework. If the internal investigation finds that Colangelo was at fault, there’s no way the Sixers could bring in an entirely new scouting department to make the pick. The new president will essentially have to use Colangelo’s people through the draft. Awkward.
Or, what if the Sixers are serious about trading for Leonard? One of the picks — if not both — would have to be involved in that deal.
It will also affect the current roster, including veterans about to hit free agency. JJ Redick obviously developed a great relationship with Colangelo. It’s impossible to know how this situation could affect his decision. Players like Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova were brought in by Colangelo as well. How are they going to feel about all this?
And that’s not even mentioning the players that will definitely be here next season. Joel Embiid is clearly conflicted about it, although he’s saying publicly that he doesn’t believe it to be true. What do Colangelo’s two No. 1 picks, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, think about all this? If the story is true, he ripped everyone at some point. Can the whole team just move on that from that?
This tangled web of ridiculousness could have historic repercussions for the Sixers. If they wind up not landing James, George or Leonard, there will always be a questions about the role all this played.
The Sixers are truly on the clock.