Kurt Helin

Adam Silver

Report: Adam Silver had hand in Sixers hiring Jerry Colangelo


The three-years running tanking effort by the Philadelphia 76ers has been a black eye for the league. It’s legal. It’s arguably smart (if you draft well and can develop the players). It may be the best path for a middle to small market team to win a title. But it also took the idea of taking in the NBA and turned it into a national conversation on the NBA and why it’s advantageous to be bad sometimes. The race to the bottom went against the competitive spirit most people associate with sport.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended what the Sixers were doing as legal, but when he got the chance to help make a change in Philly — to blunt the power of GM Sam Hinkie — he took it. Silver helped bring Colangelo to Philadelphia, as reported by Sam Amick of the USA Today.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had a significant hand in Philadelphia’s decision to hire Colangelo and placed a call to Colangelo to gauge his interest, two people familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

This wasn’t the first time Adam Silver tried to thwart this level of commitment to being bad to hopefully get good. That included helping bring substantial NBA Draft Lottery reform to the owners, but in the 48 hours before the vote some small and middle markets killed the plan, fearing this would cut off their ability to go bad in the future.

The thing is, a lot of franchises have intentionally been bad for a season or two in hopes of landing a future star, or at least some quality pieces. Just nobody ever had the level of commitment and the stomach for piling up losses like Hinkie and the Sixers did. I said before the season the question with the Sixers rebuilding plan was how long the owner Josh Harris could handle all that losing. Monday we got our answer.

Colangelo wants to build through a more traditional path of draft picks, free agents, and trades. And the process will move faster.

Lakers’ Byron Scott brings D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle off bench

Julius Randle

The Lakers player development practices are interesting.

I have made the argument more than once that Byron Scott needs to play his young trio that the Lakers see as their future — Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle — together more (and have them close out games). Ideally, play them away from Kobe Bryant as much as possible — play Kobe with the second unit more and let him and Lou Williams (and Nick Young) fight it out for shots.

But there are ways to stagger those guys gracefully. Scott chose another path.

Scott benched Russell and Randle in favor of starting Lou Williams against the Raptors Sunday.

According to Baxter Holmes of the youngsters were not fans of this plan.

“You’re never going to be thrilled about it as a competitor. It’s out of our control,” said Randle, who’s averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds in 28.4 minutes this season…

“I feel like I was starting to figure it out, then this happened,” Russell said. “But I don’t feel like it’s something that’s going to get in the way of my growth. But it is what it is. I can’t do anything about it…. Everybody has a story at the end of the day as far as what they’ve been through to get to where they want to be or where they’re at at that point. Hopefully I can look back at this and laugh.”

Scott explains his logic.

“This change wasn’t so much based on them not performing up to their capability. It’s based on where we are as a team. That’s why I made this adjustment tonight. We’re 3-17, so obviously it’s not working. So I wanted to get some new blood in there, some fresh blood, and see how those guys play. Five to 10 games from now, there might be another change. We might go back to what we did last year with different rotations.”

Spoken like a coach trying to win games now, not focus on player development first.

Which apparently are the orders from farther up the food chain, because the whispers say that Scott has been given a pass by management for this start and he isn’t seen as the problem.

As a reminder, the Lakers get to keep their pick if it is in the top three of the June draft, if it’s fourth or later the pick goes to the Sixers.

Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard rest for Spurs Monday vs. Sixers

Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich

All the news in Philadelphia Monday has been off the court.

That includes with the visiting San Antonio Spurs.

Going up against the team with the worst record in the league, a couple of key Spurs would sit out, the team announced.

This was not a back-to-back situation, but the Spurs are off until Wednesday (and a much tougher test with the Raptors), so Pop got a star a rest and didn’t push his other star. Somehow I doubt it costs them in the end (although credit the Sixers with the fact they play hard every game).

PBT Podcast: We take your Twitter questions on Wade, Lakers, Clippers, more

Dwyane Wade
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We wanted to get you all involved in the PBT Podcast. Well, that and we can be a little lazy at times. So we asked for your questions on Twitter.

In this latest edition of the ProBasketballTalk Podcast Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman first break down the latest news around the league (note that this was recorded a couple hours before the Sixers’ front office shakeup, so obviously that will be saved for another date). But then we get into the listener’s questions on Twitter about the future for Dwyane Wade in Miami, the Lakers’ plans, are the Clippers picked on too much, George Karl and more.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


PBT Extra: Why Cavaliers slide, Rockets climb in power rankings

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As they do every Monday, the ProBasketballTalk Power Rankings hit the street (well… the Internet street), and there were a few changes Jenna Corrado wanted to ask me about.

For one, the Cavaliers have lost three straight, so they slid down to fifth. Is that cause for concern? LeBron James has been concerned enough to call team meetings and discuss focus, energy, and defense. But once they get Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert back, a lot of those problems go away.

The Rockets have played better of late. They are 4-1 in their last five games, which has been all about an improved offense — the Rockets are scoring 7.7 points per 100 than their season average in this stretch. And expect it to continue for a little while as Houston’s next six games are against teams below .500. However, after that we will see if this is a mirage or if the Rockets have turned a corner.