When the Philadelphia 76ers moved away from their former general manager Sam Hinkie, it was a move that was celebrated by many. While he has a firm following in the 215, there were also a lot of people who had disdain towards the Process. Many considered it to be an “embarrassment”, that it was wrong for an executive to deliberately lose and obtain future assets with little concern for the present. On April 6th 2016, Hinkie stepped away from the Sixers as they brought in the father-son combination of Jerry and Bryan Colangelo to “right the ship” of the Philadelphia franchise. This move was one to restore the glorious history of the 76ers and one to wash away the stench of Process and elevate the franchise from further humiliation.
But with today’s big NBA story, its hard to place the Philadelphia 76ers on any sort of moral high ground.
News broken by the Ringer (original story here) highlighted a string of Twitter accounts that are reportedly tied to current Philly general manager and team president Bryan Colangelo. These accounts have said various detrimental things about current and former Sixers staff and players. The comments made by these accounts ranged from remarking about non-public injury information to saying negative and slanderous comments about Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
This story is not the first Twitter predicament someone in the NBA has been involved with. Incidents like the Kevin Durant situation are similar in showing both the allure and power that Twitter has with the NBA community. It is a very powerful tool that is used by millions each day to get news, insight and analysis surrounding the league (including this website).
But this story is more than just one person goofing around on social media. Colangelo holds a powerful position in the Sixers organization and has the ability to make major changes to this franchise. He also has the chance to, you know, talk with these players face-to-face if he truly has these level of problems with the team. Now surely he said a lot of outlandish things under the veil of a anonymous burner account, but he could of just had a conversation with Fultz or Embiid if he really was unhappy with the way they were performing. With this act, however, he may have shattered the chance of every having a genuine rapport with these players, or anyone in the 76ers organization for that matter. If I knew of a boss of mine that went behind my back and said these types of things, it would take a long time and a lot of work to repair that relationship, and I sure it would for most of you as well. No one likes to be dragged through the mud like that and it was wrong for Colangelo to do such a thing, and to especially be caught doing it in this way.
While I would at least consider suspending or firing Colangelo for these actions, I know deep in my heart that nothing that large will come of this situation. Especially when you consider the strides that the Sixers have made this season (52 wins, top three seed in the East, healthy years from Simmons and Embiid and a large amount of cap flexibility in this upcoming offseason). As long as Colangelo has not totally burned all of his bridges with the young Sixers players, he will unfortunately remain in his position for the foreseeable future.
All in all, this situation puts Philadelphia in a precarious spot. By ousting Hinkie, they tried to stay above the level that he was dragging them down to. But did they actually succeed in that?