How The Colangelo Burner Saga Made for a Better Sixers Squad

“A collection of Twitter accounts that has criticized Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz?” 

“Disclosed sensitive information, and outlined team strategy?” 

These quotes were just the start of a soap opera involving Twitter and the Sixers that paved the path to the Sixers situation heading into the offseason.

The source of the accounts, then Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo found himself in hot water once people caught on that something was awry. None other than his star forward weighed in to call out his GM.joel response

A mocking all-caps indictment of the front office plant was just the tip of the iceberg. Within eight days, Colangelo resigned as the general manager of the Sixers and head coach Brett Brown was put in his place until the front office could find a permanent replacement.

Four Sixers starting lineups later, the one-year anniversary of one of the grandest scandals in the past decade of NBA drama rears its head, but it’s not as ugly as it was in its moment.

By late May 2018, The team had just come off of a comeback season with a new-look roster, headed by two of the most promising young talents in the league, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Rumors were the “King” himself, LeBron James, was impressed, particularly with Simmons, and looking at the team as a possible destination in his free agency.

With enough cap space to sign James and then some, management was looking down the barrel of its most pivotal offseason in the history of the team. They had gone from the third-worst record in NBA history to a 52-win season in two-years time, all under the charge of battle-hardened “Process” mainstay Brett Brown.

Then Colangelo was ousted for spreading sensitive information about the team and personal opinions on top personnel under now classic monikers, “Eric jr,” “HonestAbe,” “phila1234567,” “EnoughUnknownSources,” and “Still Balling.”

And the Sixers are better off for it.

The chain of events set in place by Ben Detrick’s article, “The Curious Case of Bryan Colangelo and the Secret Twitter Account,” has been well documented, however the most important piece of the saga was Colangelo’s resignation. Colangelo likely had no master plan to bring in James, or any top free agents for that matter, and his absence during the 2018 offseason was just as insignificant as his presence.

During his two-year tenure in Philadelphia, Colangelo made few moves that were beneficial to Philly. His first draft and first act as GM was likely his best: drafting Ben Simmons with the first pick of the 2016 NBA draft. His judgement could be put into question only three weeks later when he signed Jerryd Bayless, an absolute sieve on defense and shooter only by title, to a gross overpay of three years and $27 million.

Bayless went on to play 42 total games in a Sixers uniform over the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons, most of which came in garbage time during the latter campaign. That same week, he brought over Dario Šaric, a Sam Hinkie pick, and took all the credit.

Come next offseason, he completely whiffed on the 2017 draft, selecting a promising prospect Markelle Fultz first overall. That same season, he traded 2015 third-overall pick Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskus, and a 2019 second rounder to Brooklyn for Trevor Booker, only to waive him two months later.

Besides securing JJ Redick to a contract that both sides benefited from and then encouraging him to stay for less the following off season, Colangelo’s stay can be summed up as largely mediocre.

His shrouded yet public criticisms of Joel Embiid are where his resignation became essential. While his wife has admitted to running multiple of the five aforementioned burner Twitter accounts, it’s still up in the air what was actually going on behind the scenes. The one certainty is that he was her source, and he deserves no place near the mantle if he was willing to trade Embiid for Kristaps Porzingis, or as he refers to him, “The Unicorn.”  
Colangelo-Tweet.jpgThe lower-brow of his Embiid-related ramblings questioned the star’s integrity, and called him “a tool,” “out of shape and lazy,” and “a big selfish baby.” In a post-Ben Simmons and Kendall Jenner world, these tweets also show how little he seemed to know the players he went out of his way to degrade.Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 3.43.35 PM.png

Many of such backwards insights can be drawn from the tweets archived from these accounts, as if it weren’t already twisted enough that he was sharing information about injuries, judgements of player’s personal lives, and team strategies. Bryan Colangelo needed to go, and and that’s exactly what he did.

“BC has done nothing but clean up Hinkie’s mess” claims “Eric jr” in a tweet However in 2019, it’s more appropriate to say current Sixers GM Elton Brand has cleaned up BC’s mess, and then some.

Even the interim period, in which Brett Brown handled all draft night activities, was a resounding success. The team picked Mikal Bridges 11th overall before trading him to the Phoenix Suns for 16th pick Zhaire Smith and a 2021 first-round pick. Also drafted that night was All-Rookie second teamer Landry Shamet.

Two weeks later, they acquired Wilson Chandler along with a 2021 second round pick. After getting Mike Muscala in a three-team trade two weeks after that, the pieces for the future Tobias Harris trade were assembled.

A clear candidate for Executive of the Year, Brand was named GM on August 28, 2017, and he has not looked back since. Letting go of “Process” legends Dario Saric and Robert Covington was no easy ask of fans, however he also managed to unload Jerryd Bayless’s horrible contract as salary filler and bring in Jimmy Butler, a must-sign after his dominant performance in the playoffs.

After acquiring Harris and fan favorite Mike Scott for Shamet, the expiring Muscala and Chandler, along with a few picks, Brand’s claim to the title was real. The starting line-up of Redick, Harris, Butler, Embiid, and Simmons was the best in the playoffs to play at least 100 minutes together, with a net rating of plus 24.9, Denver’s starters with a distant second at a plus 15 net rating.

Colangelo’s great blunder sent the team in the right direction, as his direction was none at all. This is his place in the Sixers history. Keeping the final line-up in what was a rollercoaster season for the Philadelphia 76ers could very well decide Brand’s legacy.

Letting either Butler or Harris, or both, walk would leave the team with little in the way of tradable assets and an emaciated roster. Turbulence is the nature of contending teams, and so long as Brand isn’t questioning Butler’s commitment and diet on Twitter, Philadelphia should be primed to return as a more formidable opponent than they’ve been in two decades.

Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *