After a lengthy investigation, Bryan Colangelo’s tenure within the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers has come to an end. The news was announced on Thursday following the completion of the team’s probe into a collection of five burner Twitter accounts that appeared to have ties to the team’s now-former general manager and president of basketball operations.
Colangelo took over in Philadelphia under rather unique (some would say odd) circumstances. His father, Jerry, was introduced as the team’s chairman of basketball operations in December of 2015. While it’s never been clear exactly why, many speculate it was because someone — believed to be the NBA’s other owners — was not happy with the brazenness with which then-GM Sam Hinkie executed “The Process.” Hinkie resigned on April 6, 2016, and one day later, the Sixers announced Bryan Colangelo would be his replacement.
Under Colangelo’s leadership, Philadelphia accrued a 80-84 record. That did include a 52-30 mark this year, which led to the team’s first postseason appearance in six years. Despite this, there were debates among Sixers fans about whether Hinkie or Colangelo deserved the lion’s share of the credit, which was one of the frequent topics that popped up on the burner accounts in defense of Colangelo.
There were additional tweets that caused eyebrows to be raised, whether they were criticisms of Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, sensitive information regarding Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, or something as silly as defending Colangelo for the size of the collar of his shirts. It was all information that only someone as plugged in as Colangelo or someone close to him would know, which ultimately led to his downfall. Ultimately, it ended up being Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, who the investigation found was the one that operated the accounts in question.
The Sixers are on the verge of entering the biggest summer the franchise has had in some time. Philadelphia has a pair of first-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, including the No. 10 selection, and is expected to be one of the organizations that make a push to acquire the services of a superstar free agent such as LeBron James. Whether they will succeed in all of these objectives or not remains to be seen, but one thing is obvious: The Sixers will have to navigate this path with someone other than Bryan Colangelo at the helm.
For now, that man is head coach Brett Brown, who will oversee basketball operations until there is a hire, which the Sixers figure to try and move quickly on given the importance of this summer in free agency.