October 20, 2018 | 6:19 am
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On to the next one with Colangelo out in Philly

We live in a world where online criticism is prevalent–especially toward those in the public eye. With the ease and convenience of being able to issue harsh statements behind the protection of a screen and an alias, viscous and anonymous social media conjecture is an unfortunate presence that’s here to stay.

Unless, of course, your name is Barbara Bottini, wife of now-former Philadelphia front office staffer, Bryan Colangelo.  Bottini is making headlines this week after admitting to creating and using five separate “burner” accounts to engage with the Twitter-verse on topics surrounding the 76ers organization and her husband. These Twitter accounts have made comments that contain insider team information, criticism of players, criticism about Colangelo’s predecessor Sam Hinkie, and defending statements about Colangelo’s fashion choices of all things.

Most recently, these burner accounts were linked with making comments about trading the franchise’s star player Joel Embiid for New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis. It seems that Bottini thought she had everyone fooled, but the Twitter world was savvy to the face behind the account–mostly. Those discussing the issue speculated that Colangelo was secretly Tweeting the comments, and it even captured the attention of Embiid who put in his two cents.

 

 

A New York law firm hired to investigate the situation on behalf of the 76ers organization stated that they could not prove that Colangelo knew that his wife was operating these accounts, but Bottini and Colangelo have both insisted that she didn’t share this information with her husband. Regardless, the information Bottini tweeted on the burner accounts suggested she was keenly aware of insider team information that she should not have known suggesting that it was either Colangelo himself issuing the comments, or Colangelo sharing information with his wife that no one outside the organization should know. Amidst the drama, Colangelo resigned from his post as 76ers GM during a time that would have proven pivotal for his career.

This incident is not only incredibly unprofessional and embarrassing, but it will likely tarnish Colangelo’s career forever. The information shared could have been extremely damaging to the team, and future employers will most assuredly take this into account when deciding whether or not to partner with Colangelo (and his wife)–I certainly would.

After such an incredible season for the Sixers, this is a very unfortunate and unnecessary event to take place. Nonetheless, Philly is working to move on and acquire the right leader who can take this team in the direction they need to go.

Philadelphia is in prime position to become a very powerful presence in the East with Embiid and Ben Simmons as their incredibly talented young core. Philly also holds the 10th pick in this year’s draft, so they may just be able to acquire another high-level weapon to add to their arsenal.

At such an important time, who is the best fit to lead the charge in the front office?

Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin is on the market, and having led the Cavs organization to their first NBA Title (with the help of LeBron James) Griffin may be just what Philadelphia needs at this point in the team’s development. Championship level experience is hard to come by, and Griffin will surely be able to bring his knowledge of taking a team of great basketball players and turning them into the best in the league to the Sixers. Griffin also is said to have a great relationship with James who will be a free agent soon so perhaps he can convince The King to leave Cleveland once more.

 

 

Another candidate for Philly to consider would be Boston Celtics Assistant GM and Team Counsel Mike Zarren. Zarren has been working around the greatness that is Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens which as likely given him some precious gems of insight into building a team worthy of an NBA Title. The question will be whether Zarren can lead a team other than the Celtics to a title when his heart doesn’t truly belong to them.

 

 

Erie Bayhawks GM, and former San Antonio Spur Malik Rose may also be available, and as a Philly native the match seems to fit. Rose played for the Spurs at a time when current Philly head coach Brett Brown was an assistant with the organization, and Rose attended the same school as Wilt Chamberlain in Philadelphia growing up. Rose’s ties to the city certainly lend him the credibility and marketability to assume the GM role, but his limited experience leading an NBA team to the championship level isn’t where Philly needs it to be at this time in the team’s “Process”.

 

 

My vote would be for the 76ers to go after Griffin to best capitalize on where the team is in their development. A top 3 team in the East, Philly’s dominance is theirs for the taking if they can secure the right GM with the professionalism, maturity, and experience to get them there.

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