Bryan Colangelo is out as the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers after his wife, Barbara Bottini, admitted to operating Twitter accounts that criticized the team and revealed confidential information.
What does it mean for an organization to approach perhaps its most important low season? never? Our NBA experts answer the big questions about what happened and what follows.
1. What have the NBA people said about this story?
Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider: Stay away from social media? As between the fans and the media, the reactions have ranged from shock to no surprise, with speculation about who was really behind the tweets (before Colangelo's wife admitted the investigators who started the accounts and sent them to them. ) and the identity of the tipster who first contacted Ben Detrick of The Ringer to expose them.
Chris Herring, FiveThirtyEight: There has been a mixture of disbelief with some, and a slight anxiety with others. Colangelo's situation is deranged from the outside until you realize: we are all human, and most people, even high-ranking basketball executives, probably talk to their loved ones about very specific aspects of their work.
But before this, I can imagine that many people would never have believed that a loved one could create social network accounts that use part of that information. Only a strange and sad situation for several people, including Colangelos.
Bobby Marks, ESPN Insider: They're stunned. I was in Los Angeles when the story broke and, in fact, I was next to Bryan Colangelo when they sent me a link to the article. Many compare it with the Watergate version of the NBA based on the research work that led to the final resignation of Colangelo.
Royce Young, ESPN.com: "Crazy" is the word he gets repeated. Not surprisingly, an NBA executive had an anonymous Twitter account; It would be surprising if an NBA executive did not do it but the layers of this are impressive. The exchange of private information is what most surprises most, because if not, it is rare, but mostly harmless. However, it has certainly sent a shudder to all public relations employees of the NBA to put their house in order on what they know and discover things they do not know.
2. What aspect of the story should we talk about the most?
Pelton: The interruption in the rest of the Philadelphia office. However, you blame Colangelo himself, there is no reason to think that someone working for him and with him could have expected something like this to end his term prematurely. However, they face the possibility of another restructuring that could affect the reception staff, as well as the arrival of Colangelo and the departure of Sam Hinkie two years ago.
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Young: How it originated. The idea of an anonymous informant who compiles the connection between five very random Twitter accounts is strange, and it's worth investigating. Even noticing these accounts that tweet in the Sixers media is pretty dubious in itself, and raises many questions about why someone was paying attention in the first place. It could be a case of Occam's razor, where it's simple and what you see is what it really was, but at least it's worth questioning if there was another level. Because you do not make it a little more crazy.
Marks: The sensitivity of medical information with Jahlil Okafor and the criticisms of Joel Embiid. Fortunately for Philadelphia, Embiid signed a five-year contract and will not be a free agent this summer, but there is still damage control when it comes to his franchise center. If the 76ers had not signed the center for an extension, there certainly would have been a cloud over their free agency this July. In Okafor's case, only a few within the 76ers knew the business dialogue in February 2017 and concerns that Okafor would not pbad a physical examination.
Herring: The basketball element is interesting and could have a big role in what happens with the Sixers this summer. But the element of social media is fascinating for several reasons. For a Sixers fan base that is incredibly vocal and has a large contingent that still supports former GM Sam Hinkie, several of the team's supporters will count this as a victory.
Somehow, there was much criticism of Colangelo that his wife felt the need to fight against some of that, which obviously led to the fall of Colangelo. All this derived from the idea of public scrutiny. A crazy story, but in essence, a very human, full of insecurity.
3. Do you expect us to see additional problems in social networks that involve NBA organizations?
Marks: I do not. This will serve as a wake-up call for the 30 teams. As much as I want to use his wife or relatives as confidants (I certainly did in my time with New Jersey and Brooklyn), the reality is that sometimes what happens in the office must remain within the team.
Herring: At some point. But I guess we will not see one like this soon, unless it helps to discover something similar that happened in the recent past. This was apparently extraordinary.
Pelton: In the short term, I expected more surveillance of the equipment to avoid leaks of information on social networks. Like the emphasis on rules among referees, that application will likely diminish over time as Colangelo's situation enters the rearview mirror. Given the amount of confidential information that teams possess and the ease of publishing on social networks, there are likely to be more scandals.
Young: Absolutely. Social networks are just part of the game now, in the same way that someone will always give a stupid date or someone will always be caught doing something stupid. The scandal is a part of sports, and social networks are just another avenue to create one. There is no way to monitor it completely, because there is no way to control the inherent carelessness of people. People in positions of prestige or power are not immune from doing stupid things.
4. How do you think this situation will affect current Sixers players?
Young: Probably not so much. It does not seem that Colangelo was so popular with the list anyway, especially considering the circumstances in which he was hired. The face of the franchise still tweets the accessories of former general manager Sam Hinkie, for shouting out loud. The Sixers have handled quite well a strange and impossible to anticipate situation. They did not fall apart under the initial avalanche of Twitter's condemnation and reacted; They took their time and came to a logical conclusion.
Herring: I think this would have been a better question if Colangelo had kept his job, because there would have been no trust between him and a number of the players. It is possible that some of them still have problems of trust with the organization, since many of the key pieces are incredibly young. But you could argue that the potential discomfort of the players about this situation was the main reason why Colangelo needed to go, whether he was the person behind those Twitter accounts or not.
Mark: It's a lesson in PR 101 right now, if that did not start last Tuesday. The good news is that despite the scandal with Bryan Colangelo, there is stability with the recent extension of Brett Brown and 12 players per contract. Outside of his own core players, Brown, the most titled member of the team, is essentially the face of the organization and has strong relationships throughout the Sixers.
Pelton: Team stars are unlikely to be affected much Any impact will likely be felt more by role players whose value tends to be much more in the eyes of the viewer. A new general manager may, for example, not badess veteran leadership provided by Amir Johnson and J.J. Redick as much as Colangelo. That could affect the likelihood that those players return as free agents.
5. Do you think this situation will affect the ability of the Sixers to acquire players in the offseason?
Marks: No. Even if there is no general manager in operation by July 1, the point of sale in free agency is not the words of the head office – and not a PowerPoint presentation – but what's on the court. The combination of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, Darius Saric and Brett Brown should be good enough to attract free agents.
Herring: Depending on whether David Griffin occupies the position of Colangelo, he could help them in a huge, LeBron-type. But regardless of whether that ends up happening, the move was necessary to help attract veteran players in free agency. It needs to be accepted at almost every level to be a championship-caliber team. It would have been almost impossible to do that with the lack of confidence that already developed or that almost certainly would have developed in the coming months.
Young: A month in the NBA is an eternity, and by the time free agency turns around, a new regime could be in place and things will keep moving forward. Any player who considers the Sixers in free agency before the Colangelo situation will probably not be so affected by that, especially since he left. There may be some questions about a new address, but any player who thinks about joining the Sixers will do it for Brett Brown and the potential to play with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, not Bryan Colangelo.
Pelton: With Colangelo offstage, I do not think there's any effect on the interest of the star players in playing in Philadelphia. Therefore, any impact would have to come from the inability of the interim central office or remade of the 76ers to make those decisions as effectively without the planning that had already taken place under Colangelo's leadership.