Silver said he only made introductions, but many around the league remain unconvinced.
Adam Silver admitted to reaching out to Jerry Colangelo on behalf of the Sixers’ owners in December. But interviews with more than a dozen league sources — including GMs, other executives and agents — suggest that the commissioner’s involvement in that regime change may have been greater than he has let on.
Some sources claim Philly’s ownership group had grown impatient with Hinkie’s lack of a clear timetable to be competitive and had been worn down by constant criticism. Others suggest Silver pressured the 76ers into making a change.
The league has never hidden its distaste for tanking, and sources around the NBA say Silver grew more irritated after the Sixers lost their first 18 games last fall and Okafor was involved in multiple off-court incidents. Ultimately, those sources say, it is likely that a combination of all those factors led to Jerry Colangelo’s hiring. (The NBA declined to comment for this story.)
The 76ers were bad for business — a large-market alienating paying fans through years of tanking. It might have been a sound plan for building a championship contender, but it wasn’t great for revenue.
Silver never hid his distaste for Hinkie’s Process. The commissioner tried to pass lottery reform to curb incentive for tanking, but it didn’t get enough votes. Is it that unreasonable to think Silver might have taken other steps behind the scenes?
There’s a fine line between meddling and protecting the interests of the league you’re charged with running. If 76ers owner Josh Harris wanted to resist Colangelo, Harris probably could’ve.
Instead, it seems everyone in charge was ready to move on. How much does it matter where the push for change originated and how strong it was?