At Jerry Colangelo’s introductory press conference, 76ers owner Josh Harris affirmed his faith in general manager Sam Hinkie:
“To be explicitly clear, I continue to have confidence in Sam,” Harris said. “He will continue in his current role leading us with the day-to-day in basketball operations. More importantly, I want Sam in the position. Jerry in this new role will be an invaluable resource and help to all of us.”
Colangelo even went a step further:
“Sam is in the position where he will make the call on the final decision, but that’s after a lot of collaboration and discussion with us,” Colangelo said.
One problem: Nobody believes them.
Sam Hinkie, architect of the Sixers’ three-year strategy of rebuilding through scraping the bottom of the standings while collecting future draft picks like bubble-gum cards, remains the general manager in title alone. No one in the league expects Hinkie’s voice to carry over Colangelo’s when it comes to personnel decisions going forward. That ship has sailed, along with the needlessly complex equations that built it.
Colangelo has always been very involved in anything he has done. So, it’s easy to see him demanding final authority over basketball operations before taking this job.
But he’s also 76. He might not want the same heavy responsibilities he had when he was younger.
I’m also not convinced the 76ers are fully aware how power will be divided. As Colangelo said, the team first contacted him fairly recently. There might not be a clear plan in place (though there obviously should have been before finalizing a hire of this magnitude).
Berger also reports neither NBA commissioner Adam Silver nor other NBA owners were as involved in getting Colangelo to Philadelphia as initially reported. Harris asked Silver for advice, so Silver provided a list of potential hires with Colangelo at the top, according to Berger. Silver spoke briefly with Colangelo, introduced him to Harris and then let Harris and Colangelo handle it from there, Berger writes.
And that might be the case.
But it’s also might be the smoothing of a messy story. Silver and other owners meddling into the 76ers’ affairs isn’t the best look. This telling could minimize the damage.
Colangelo described the process this way:
When I get the call from the commissioner and get a call from an owner asking, pleading for some help, you know it kind of got my attention.
Did Silver call and then Harris pleaded? Or did both plead?
The wording is unclear – a little like the conflicting reports coming out of Philadelphia.