The storm over Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo potentially having five burner Twitter accounts — a charge he continues to deny — could cost him his job.
The Philadelphia 76ers are doing an internal investigation into the report that Colangelo, or potentially someone close to him, was running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts that slammed Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Masai Ujiri and others. Original reporting by The Ringer came up with a mountain of circumstantial evidence, but that’s not direct proof.
Colangelo once again denied any knowledge of the situation speaking to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Upon his arrival at Philadelphia International Airport, he told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark that he “stands by his (previous) statement” and is “fully unaware of anything” related to the scandal.
“I got a true sense that he needs to figure out a lot of the stuff that happened,” Clark said on Philly Sports Talk. “The Sixers are investigating him and he’s also trying to figure out what happened, I believe.”
If this is tied back to Colangelo — or his wife, who has become a focus — it likely will cost the GM his job. The Sixers are considering that, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN.
As a Philadelphia 76ers internal probe into anonymous Twitter accounts has become increasingly focused on the wife of president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, franchise ownership is seriously considering Colangelo’s dismissal, league sources told ESPN.
Colangelo, a two-time past NBA Executive of the Year, has discussed with ownership and upper management the possibility that his wife, Barbara Bottini, may have been involved in the postings of the tweets from so-called burner accounts, league sources said.
So far, Philadelphia ownership has shown little, if any, inclination to separate Colangelo’s culpability in the matter should a family member or close associate be proven responsible for the postings, league sources said.
It is possible that Colangelo’s wife could have run these accounts without his knowledge, but she still was largely Tweeting things she heard from him. She was defending him and venting his frustrations, but that is no less damaging to Colangelo’s relationship with players and other executives around the league.
Bottom line, whether it was him or his wife is a distinction without a difference to the Sixers.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the situation before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
“I have talked to management at the 76ers and the notion here was, let’s find out what’s going on,” Silver said. “And I said, in anything we’ve dealt with over the years, I think you have to separate sort of the chatter and sort of what either fans or frankly the media are saying from the facts. And the first thing we have to do here is determine what the actual facts are in this circumstance.
“I know the first thing that (Sixers managing partner) Josh Harris and his ownership group did was when presented with that story, which I believe came as a surprise to them, was to engage an outside law firm, a New York firm, that specializes in these types of investigations and said here’s all the information we have. Our organization, all of us, are available to you, and I know that includes Bryan Colangelo. And with deliberate speed, but don’t cut any corners, let us know what’s going on.”
What’s going on is Colangelo could be losing his job.