The fate of 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo is expected to be determined soon.
Several league sources on Friday said they expect him to lose his job after a New York law firm hired by the team wraps up its investigation into allegations by a sports and pop culture website that Colangelo is connected to anonymous Twitter accounts that have revealed sensitive team information and criticized players and coach Brett Brown. The Sixers, of course, could hold off on making an announcement this weekend as Colangelo continues to fight for his job.
Sources have said that Colangelo would benefit from resigning as soon as possible so he doesn't risk further damage to his reputation. But Colangelo, who turned 53 on Friday, continues to deny the allegations. He did not return messages for comment. However, he told Yahoo Sports via a text Wednesday that "Someone is out to get me."
In fact, to clear his name, a source said, Colangelo has even strongly considered hiring an outside investigator to determine who is behind the anonymous Twitter accounts. Those denials haven't exactly helped in the court of public opinion, even within his own organization.
"I haven't talked to one person inside or outside of the organization that is surprised by this," said an NBA executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The executive described Colangelo as emotional and one who pays close attention to what is being said about him.
Colangelo has acknowledged using one of the Twitter accounts reported by The Ringer, @phila1234567, which didn't have an account name. Colangelo never tweeted from that account. However, The Ringer alleged that Colangelo may be linked to four other accounts — "Eric jr", "HonestAbe", "Enoughunkownsources" and "Still Balling" — that did make controversial tweets.
Colangelo's denials are questioned because there are tweets that align with some of the frustrations and beliefs voiced inside the organization. According to several sources, that is why several players believe Colangelo is linked to the tweets even if he did not directly post them on the burner accounts.
ESPN reported that Colangelo has had discussions with the team's ownership and upper management about the possibility that his wife, Barbara Bottini, could have been involved in posting from the anonymous Twitter accounts. If that's the case, who gave her the information?
No one from the ownership group, front office, or coaching staff has issued a statement in support of the embattled executive since The Ringer report was published late Tuesday.
"They don't want to look bad supporting him if it turns out that he did it," another league executive said. "They want to wait until the facts come out before commenting."
Sixers all-star center Joel Embiid did tweet Wednesday morning. "Fun night on Twitter lmao. All jokes aside, I don't believe that story. That would just be insane," he wrote.
That came hours after Embiid initially responded on Twitter at 11 p.m. Tuesday to the report that Colangelo allegedly talked negatively about him via a burner Twitter address, @AIVic40117560.
The center tweeted, "Joel told me that @samhinkie IS BETTER AND SMARTER THAN YOU @AIVic40117560 #BurnerAccount."
League sources said they don't think Colangelo will keep his job even if it's proven that Bottini or another family member was behind the burner accounts. Under that scenario, it would be believed that Colangelo or someone within the organization provided the information that was tweeted.
A source added that, unless the perpetrator made some mistakes, it would be hard to prove definitively who tweeted the information.