The Philadelphia 76ers dropped a bombshell on Monday afternoon, announcing that USA Basketball Chairman of the Board of Directors Jerry Colangelo has been named Special Advisor to the Managing General Partner and Chairman of Basketball Operations.
The Sixers and GM Sam Hinkie have come under a lot of criticism for their prolonged rebuild that’s seen historic levels of losing. Philadelphia is 1-20 this season, and Jahlil Okafor’s off-the-court issues haven’t helped the optics of the situation. The hiring of Colangelo brings instant credibility to the organization and should help the team’s rebuilding process.
Colangelo, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, spent a long time in the Phoenix Suns’ front office and used to own the team, along with numerous other Arizona sports franchises. His role with USA Basketball should be a plus as well, as he’s built numerous relationships with star players and agents over the years.
While Hinkie has received plenty of criticism, the Sixers appear committed to the current direction of the team, although there was an admission of disappointment at how slowly the rebuild is going:
Jerry Colangelo on Sam Hinkie: "He has a plan, and that's something we're going to continue to talk about. I'm intrigued, quite honestly."
— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) December 7, 2015
Joshua Harris: "We're still committed to the process…I don't see a radical change in what we're doing." #sixers
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) December 7, 2015
#Sixers Harris: 'I want it to faster. Sure. I'm impatient.'
— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) December 7, 2015
Colangelo will have a strong voice as part of a collaborative decision-making effort, although Hinkie will still get the final call:
Jerry Colangelo is asked who makes the final decision, and says after "a lot of collaboration and discussion" Hinkie will make final call.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) December 7, 2015
It also seems that head coach Brett Brown’s job is safe, despite all the losing:
Despite management shakeup, Sixers committed to coach Brett Brown — and a contract extension is very likely, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) December 7, 2015
This is a power move by the Sixers, and it’ll be intriguing to see how the process plays out now, especially considering Woj implies that Hinkie may actually be in trouble. Philadelphia has a chance to take a big step forward next summer thanks to its asset haul and a boatload of cap space, so moving on from Hinkie now would be rather strange timing.
If anything, though, Hinkie’s on notice, and USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt reports that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had a hand in this hire. So there’s some pressure to turn this thing around rather quickly.