After one of the strangest stories in recent sports history finally played out, Bryan Colangelo is no longer the Sixers’ president. So the search for his replacement is underway.
And thanks to a report from The Ringer, we have a few names who have emerged as the most likely candidates for the job.
According to the report, these three guys — Mike Zarren, David Griffin and Kiki VanDeWeghe — have been identified as external candidates for the job.
Marc Eversley and Ned Cohen were listed as internal candidates, but “the expectation is that ownership will take a long, hard look at external candidates.” That sounds like they're going outside the building.
So let’s take a look at the three names on the list:
Zarren is described as “a top candidate” by The Ringer, but who is he? Well, Zarren is the Celtics’ assistant general manager and reportedly turned down the Sixers’ GM job before they hired Sam Hinkie several years ago.
According to Zarren’s official Celtics bio, he’s a lifelong C's fan, who actually started as an unpaid intern a decade ago. It seems like Zarren is pretty highly thought of in basketball circles and is apparently a stats genius and a salary cap expert.
While Danny Ainge has gotten a ton of credit for building a Celtics team that's not just good now but could be good for the next decade, it seems like Zarren has been playing a more hands-on role than most people even realize.
Bryan Colangelo: "I think I've been talking to [Celtics Asst GM] Mike Zarren about the Lakers' pick for a year and a half."— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 19, 2017
And Zarren is also a smarty-pants. He’s a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago and has served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He was also a management consultant for Fortune 500 firms. Wait a second ... he sounds an awful lot like a former Sixers GM.
You probably already know Griffin as the best way for the Sixers to get LeBron James. Griffin is the former Cavaliers general manager (2014-17) and is said to have a good relationship with LeBron. In fact, Griffin was the GM when LeBron decided to go back to Cleveland. LeBron was apparently unhappy when Griffin didn’t return as GM. Really, the fact that it seems Griffin didn’t get along with owner Dan Gilbert can only make LeBron like him more.
If no one appreciated you Griff I did, and hopefully all the people of Cleveland! Thanks for what u did for the team for 3 yrs! We got us 1🏆— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 20, 2017
In addition to bringing back LeBron, Griffin also put together the Cavs team that won the championship a couple years ago. Aside from just getting LeBron, he made smaller moves to help bring a championship to Cleveland; in recent years, they’ve lacked those smaller moves. He’s a very well-respected guy in NBA circles.
For now, Griffin is an analyst on NBA TV, so the Sixers would need to pull him away from a cushy studio gig. But if they can, he’d not only restore credibility in the Sixers’ front office, it might help get the best player in the world.
A basketball lifer, VanDeWeghe has been a player, coach and former GM. He was the GM in Denver when the team drafted Carmelo Anthony and hired George Karl. He was most recently the GM for the Nets until the new owners came in.
VanDeWeghe is now the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA after joining the league in 2013. He took the job Rod Thorn once had in the league.
If you remember, the NBA certainly seemed to have a big role in the Sixers’ hiring of their last general manager … and VanDeWeghe is actually working in the NBA’s front office. Go ahead and connect those dots.
"Kiki is one of the sharpest basketball minds in the NBA," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said after promoting him a few years ago. Maybe Silver will work his magic again.