By Cole Parkinson
The Bryan Colangelo saga with the burner Twitter accounts is absolutely and utterly fascinating to me.
Of course, Colangelo was a former general manager for the Toronto Raptors and has been working with the Philadelphia 76ers since 2016.
Now that some of the facts have come out, it’s just as intriguing as it was when I first read The Ringer story about the whole thing.
For the uninitiated, The Ringer’s Ben Detrick wrote a story called ‘The Curious Case of Bryan Colangelo and the Secret Twitter Account,’ which was published on May 29.
The story went in depth about how they connected several dots to Colangelo and five different anonymous Twitter accounts which revealed inside team information about team strategies, player personnel and gripes with several 76ers players.
If you haven’t read the story, I recommend giving it a read as it’s well worth your time. But now with the team investigation over, it will be interesting to see what happens for both the Sixers and Colangelo.
Starting with Colangelo, he originally fessed up to controlling one of the five accounts that The Ringer had found, though that account never tweeted anything.
Three of the remaining four accounts have been confirmed to have been owned by Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, as she confessed to running them.
Of course, upon this discovery, the 76ers have released a statement saying they mutually agreed to part ways with Colangelo. But let’s be honest here, we all know it was a firing.
It would be extremely hard to keep him around with an important offseason ahead for Philly.
There are still quite a few questions that haven’t been answered though, as one of the accounts is still in limbo.
Another huge red flag for me is the investigators have said they believe Colangelo had no previous knowledge of the accounts.
That being said, several of the accounts went private when The Ringer approached Colangelo about two of the five, so if he had no prior knowledge, why did they go private?
How would Bottini know of The Ringer’s inquiry if Colangelo didn’t tell her?
To me, it’s incredibly unlikely that the accounts would just go dark right after.
Maybe Colangelo knew she was controlling one of the accounts, but didn’t know of the other two so he let it slip, but who knows. It is pretty hard to believe that he had no knowledge of the accounts beforehand though.
Bottini resetting her phone to factory settings, in my opinion, was maybe the funniest thing to come out of the investigation.
Nothing says you’re guilty like trying to delete all the evidence off your phone, especially in the digital age where it really isn’t that hard to find who was running these accounts, even with the road block from resetting the phone.
In any case, it really was just a wife defending her husband from abuse he got on Twitter, which I guess is fair. But man, that was a really dumb way of going about it.
This could potentially cost her husband another job in the association.
Another big wrinkle to the story was reports of Bryan’s father, Jerry Colangelo who is a highly touted sports executive, had interfered with the Sixers investigation.
The older Colangelo has plenty of power and some have even suggested it was him who got his son the job in Philly.
The report stated Jerry threatened the team by stating he would tamper with relations among other teams across the league, though the Sixers have already came out and said he wasn’t involved at all.
This story includes a ton of back and forth with no real way of knowing who is telling the truth.
Could I see Jerry Colangelo interfering? Yes, I could.
Could I see Bryan Colangelo and his wife agreeing to her taking the fall in order to save his reputation in the NBA? Yes, I could.
There are so many angles that may or may not be true, it really is hard to believe everything you hear in regard to these Twitter burner accounts.
I’ll be honest, after reading the story when it first broke, I figured there was no way it wasn’t Bryan Colangelo running the accounts or feeding the accounts the information. I still do believe he had some knowledge of the accounts.
Will we ever find out the truth? That’s still the biggest question.
And the Philadelphia 76ers are now facing an extremely important offseason, quite potentially the most of any team.
After the firing of Colangelo, Sixers head coach Brett Brown was given the title of GM until the team finds someone to take over permanently.
The Sixers have been an absolute tire fire for the last several years, but this year they finally broke the mold and sent a real quality team to the hardwood.
That being said, the 76ers still didn’t completely hit on everything as Markelle Fultz, who was drafted first overall in last year’s draft, wasn’t a factor (and boy, it has to hurt seeing Jayson Tatum lighting it up with the Celtics when he went two picks after) as he only suited up for 18 games throughout the 2017/18 campaign.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are the real deals though.
Embiid had some injury troubles again this year, but still led the team with 22.9 points per game over 63 games, while Simmons played in 81 games in his rookie season and collected 15.8 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game and 8.2 assists per game.
It’s hard to imagine the 76ers not being centred around those two for years to come and you have to believe Fultz will eventually figure it out.
Now with the NBA offseason starting, Philly will be one of the top teams competing for this years big offseason catch.
Of course, that big fish is LeBron James, who is all but done in Cleveland.
And how can you blame him.
LeBron dragged that team by himself to the NBA Final and then had the honour of being demolished by Golden State in four straight.
The Sixers are young, exciting and only going to get better and LeBron has to be looking for a team that can topple the Warriors with his addition to the starting lineup.
With only a handful of teams with that possibility, I’m sure James will take his time to think long and hard about where he wants to play.
In my opinion, it will be one of Houston, Philly, Boston, the L.A. Lakers or a long-shot Toronto Raptors (I don’t seriously think he would come up north but a guy can dream).
If Philly had kept Colangelo on as GM, you would have to think free agent players, including the best player in the game, would have major hesitations.
With Colangelo out of the way, I think LeBron has to be seriously considering joining The Process in Philadelphia.
Either way, it sure shapes up to be an exciting offseason in the NBA, though it seems ever offseason in the Association is.