The Philadelphia 76ers nearly broke NBA Twitter Monday when they announced that they’d hired Jerry Colangelo as the team’s new chairman of basketball operations. As former owner of the Phoenix Suns and current head of USA Basketball, Colangelo has a proven track record of building successful teams.
Current Sixers GM Sam Hinkie has come under fire lately for his enigmatic approach to roster building, which has included a perpetual emphasis on losing in order to secure draft lottery positioning and acquiring as many assets as possible to give the franchise future flexibility. It’s a philosophy that’s unofficially and satirically become known as “The Process,” the results of which have been widely criticized in various NBA circles.
And as the team’s losing skid has reached historic and humiliating levels this season – along with their prized rookie Jahlil Okafor’s bewildering string of offcourt issues – fans in Philadelphia and folks around the league offices have become fed up with what they see as an, at best, murky vision for the Sixers’ future. And that’s when the NBA’s head honcho stepped in and used his significant clout to help the organization right the ship. Via of Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had a significant hand in Philadelphia’s decision to hire Colangelo and placed a call to Colangelo to gauge his interest, two people familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the private discussions.
And Silver’s sudden involvement in this deal isn’t happenstance. According to a recent report from Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, certain NBA owners have been putting pressure on the Commissioner to take action for some time now, arguing that the struggling Sixers are affecting other organizations’ bottom lines.
Owners routinely complained about the economic drag the 76ers were inflicting on the league as the revenues of one of the largest-market teams — a franchise expected to contribute more robustly to league revenue-sharing — sagged. For many teams, games featuring the starless and woeful 76ers as the visiting team have been the lowest-attended of the season, sources said.
For his part, Colangelo has taken a diplomatic approach to his new role with the team, claiming that Hinkie will still act as the primary decision-maker, but with the caveat that any future decisions will be the product of close collaboration between the two parties. Despite that proclamation, it’s clear that owner Josh Harris expects Colangelo to add some clarity and stability that has been sorely lacking thus far on Hinkie’s regime.