The 76ers are approaching an offseason that is one of the most important in team history and the events of the past 24 hours are threatening to make things more difficult than they should be.
A Tuesday night report by The Ringer alleged that Sixers’ general manager Bryan Colangelo used multiple burner accounts on Twitter to do everything from leak sensitive information to disparage players and NBA executives.
Immediately following the report, there was plenty of public reaction from the sports world including shock from players and jokes being made on Twitter by other NBA executives. Some of the more candid reactions were saved for confidential conversations with the Inquirer and Daily News.
On Wednesday, a Western Conference team employee reacted with laughter and said they are thankful this wasn’t anybody they worked with.
“This whole thing is hysterical,” the employee said. “So glad it’s not our franchise.”
While a large majority of players, especially those that are locked into current contracts, laughed at the absurdity of the situation, there were some that provided a more harrowing outlook.
In conversations with three different current NBA players not on the Sixers roster, the general consensus is that with the information provided in the original report it would be nearly impossible to trust Colangelo moving forward.
“Definitely difficult to trust him after reading that article,” one player said. “In today’s world, you’re guilty until proven innocent.”
That leads to the question: What if the accounts are found to not be linked to Colangelo, but instead to someone who is close to him?
“I don’t think that matters,” another player said Wednesday. “I’m just thinking about the guys on the team. If he’s letting that information get out there and can’t control the people around him from blasting this stuff on Twitter, then you can’t trust him.”
With the NBA draft right around the corner and free agency opening up on July 1, the Sixers, who released a statement saying they were launching an independent investigation into the allegations, don’t have much time before it’s necessary to wrap this up.
With big-name targets like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George in the Sixers’ sights, this all could have a major affect on how the team approaches landing a free-agent superstar.
According to an NBA agent who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, although the allegations are damning and would definitely put doubt into the minds of players, the news wouldn’t change how he would do business with Colangelo.
“I hope it isn’t true obviously,” he said, admitting that he was shocked when he heard about the report. “But this would not affect personal dealings with Bryan. With me, he’s always been a straight shooter.”
The agent added that there’s no denying that this situation would be something that would have to be discussed with players and that he would advise his clients on, but the the bottom line for a free agent usually comes down to money.
“As far as how this factors into free agency, acquisitions, and decisions, the most compelling factor for a player is usually compensation,” he said. “So I don’t think it would really deter anyone from signing there.”
That’s all assuming that Colangelo survives this and maintains his position in the Sixers’ front office. With evidence mounting and the results of the team’s investigation looming, one NBA player said there’s no way he sees Colangelo continuing as the Sixers general manager.
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“I think it’s impossible to move forward with him,” he said. “Let’s say that the accounts aren’t his, that they are just someone in his camp, or that they can’t prove who it is at all. Even then, the trust has been lost internally. I wouldn’t want him to be my GM.”