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Associated Press

PBT Podcast: Bryan Colangelo out in Philly, plus some Finals talk

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It was both expected and one of the strangest stories ever in the NBA: Bryan Colangelo is out as the GM of the Sixers.

Why? Because his wife — he contends without his knowledge — ran a series of Twitter burner accounts which defended him and savaged players on the team, including Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports get into why Colangelo had to go, even if you believe he didn’t know about the accounts, and who is most likely next in line to replace him.

The pair also gets into the 3-0 NBA Finals, the vibe around the Cavaliers, and what this means for LeBron James going forward.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Who is next as GM in Philadelphia?

Associated Press
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Remember when the Colangelos — Jerry, and later Bryan — were brought in to save the Philadelphia 76ers from the leaguewide embarrassment of “The Process?”

That “embarrassing” process is now venerated and seen as the base of the Sixers success. Then on Thursday, Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers parted ways after reporting exposed his wife’s burner accounts (if you believe him, as the Sixers do) that ripped players. Those accounts caused too much damage to the organization to keep the younger Colangelo around.

So who is next as the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers? That person is stepping into a situation with a ton of potential because of star players in house — Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons — plus good role players and guys with potential (Markelle Fultz has potential, Robert Covington is a great role player), plus the No. 10 pick, and a lot of cap space. It also can be a challenging task to turn all that potential into contending reality.

Here are some guys in consideration:

David Griffin. The former Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM is all the talk around the NBA Finals as the frontrunner to land this job. The reason is twofold: 1) He has a strong relationship and the respect of LeBron James, the free agent to be who the Sixers are targeting; 2) He’s probably the best guy available even if he can’t land them LeBron. Griffin did an excellent job of clearing the cap space to bring LeBron back, managing desires of a troublesome/challenging owner, and putting a team together around LeBron that won Cleveland it’s only title in franchise history. He’s smart and well connected around the league. He was let go in Cleveland because… ask Dan Gilbert, nobody else is sure.

Gilbert will not come cheap, and after his experience in Cleveland he will want some power and leeway, but he should be the Sixers first choice and they should pay the man.

Danny Ferry. The former Atlanta Hawks GM and a current advisor to Dell Demps in New Orleans comes up because he has had conversations before with Sixers ownership about coming on board. He’s a smart, experienced GM who wants another chance in the big chair. He was let go in Atlanta after reading directly from a racially insensitive (to put it kindly) scouting report on a phone call with minority owners of the team. (He also was caught in a power struggle between the then ownership factions of that team.)

Brett Brown. Could this be another Atlanta situation? When Ferry was forced out of the Hawks’ franchise they temporarily turned everything over to then-coach Mike Budenholzer to run the show, and then ownership decided to stick with him. In Philly, Brett Brown is now in charge of basketball operations running up to the draft and free agency. If the Sixers struggle to reach a deal with an established GM such as Griffin or Ferry, Brown keeping his new title is not out of the question.

Sam Hinkie. There is a vocal majority of Sixers fans were fervent believers in Hinkie and “the process,” and in turn hated everything Colangelo did (even when it was something good, like landing J.J. Redick, or picking up Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli as buyout free agents midseason). They want Hinkie back. Philadelphia primary owner Joshua Harris was asked about this directly at his press conference Thursday and danced around the question.

“We have a lot of respect for Sam, and we appreciate how he’s positioned our franchise,” Harris said. He was very noncommittal with anything going forward, sounding mostly like a guy still stunned all of this happened in the first place. Which is a fair reaction, this whole thing is strange.

While it’s not impossible, as long as Jerry Colangelo is still in place in the organization — and he is staying — it’s hard to imagine a Hinkie return.

An up-and-comer such as Troy Weaver or Mike Zarren. It is possible Harris and the elder Colangelo decide to go with one of the top guys in the on-deck circle, someone who has paid their dues and deserves a shot in the big chair. Troy Weaver has been Sam Presti’s right-hand man in Oklahoma City, while Mike Zarren is a highly-trusted member of Danny Ainge’s staff in Boston. Both guys deserve a shot. However, with the Sixers positioned to contend if the right moves are made, it’s hard to imagine Harris and company turning to a first-time GM, no matter how good they look on paper.

 

Denver Nuggets unveil new logo, evolved uniforms

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The up-and-coming Nuggets are returning with a new look next season.

Denver has been hinting their new look would drop soon, and it did Wednesday night (during an NBA Finals game, but if that’s what you want…). First, the logo got updated.

Then there is the new look, evolved uniforms — which are clean and modern. I like the look.

“Our franchise has a rich history containing numerous logo and color designs throughout our incredible 50-year story in Denver…“ said Josh Kroenke, Vice Chairman of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (owner of the Nuggets), in a statement. “The Denver Nuggets have always welcomed change and are continually looking for ways to innovate as shown by our evolution from the ABA’s Denver Rockets, to Maxie the Miner, the iconic Rainbow Skyline, and on to the Mountain Peak and Pickaxe. Each era of Nuggets basketball has its own distinct look and feel, and our amazing fans should know that this latest progression aims to celebrate our unique history while turning the page to represent the current and future era of our team.”

Here’s a closer look at the new uniforms, which include a nod to the old skyline logo on the Statement uniforms.

You want a commercial for the new look? You got it.

The Nuggets will look sharp next season, we’ll see if they can carry that new look into the postseason.

Rodney Hood finally gets chance in Finals, scores 15 for Cavaliers

Associated Press
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“Where has Rodney Hood been?”

It’s the question a lot of Cavaliers’ fans were asking after Game 3 — and one a lot of analysts were asking since Game 1.

A desperate Tyronn Lue let Hood out of the dog house Wednesday night and Hood took advantage of the situation, scoring 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He was the second playmaker shot creator the Cavaliers often have been looking for.

“I’m very happy for Rodney,” Lue said after another Cavaliers’ loss. “Played a good game. He was aggressive. Attacking the basket, and he gives you a guy who can shoot the basketball from three and also put the ball on the floor. I thought he did a good job attacking tonight. Gave us a lot of momentum throughout the course of the game.”

Hood had earned his seat on the bench — he had refused to enter the final minutes of a game against Boston, he had admitted he struggled to adjust to the scrutiny that comes with playing with LeBron James, and he and LeBron did not have much chemistry on the court (looking at the NBA’s Second Spectrum numbers, LeBron passed less to him than any other teammate).

Yet with Cleveland’s struggles to create shots and get enough points this series, a lot of analysts and Cavaliers fans had been calling for Hood to get some run since during Game 1. Lue tends to stick with his dogma and he was slow to come around on Hood in this series. He finally did.

Just from watching the five-on-five games those guys play every day, and just seeing him get his work in and playing those games and being aggressive, getting his offensive scoring and stuff back, he’s been great in those games,” Lue said of Hood and why he finally got a real chance in Game 3. “Just thought we’d give him a shot, and he made the most of it, and just happy for him.”

Hood was not gloating about playing well and proving he deserved the chance.

It would have been a lot more satisfying if we won,” Hood said. “We’re one game away from elimination. It feels good to play well, but at the same time we need to get the one game two days from now.”

Still, Hood impressed his teammates.

“I thought Rodney Hood was Rodney Hood tonight. That was Rodney Hood, man,” LeBron said. “He was just aggressive from the beginning when he got in the game, even though he missed his first three. He had a wide-open shot, but he just continued to push and push.

“His athleticism and his length and his touch around the rim, you know, it was more than just what he did for the team, I think for himself, that was just a huge moment for himself. That was good to see. That was great to see, actually.”

Hood was a microcosm of the Cavaliers in some ways in Game 3 — he got them some points and had a strong offensive night, but he also as part of the numerous defensive breakdowns that led to the Warriors getting 37 shots at the rim in the game, many of them dunks and uncontested layups.

It’s tough because they really run the ball up the court and you always have to have your head on a swivel guarding the shooters,” Hood said of defending the Warriors. “And if you’re not being on the help side, make sure you communicate. It’s a tough thing to do.”

Hood is going to get his chance again in Game 4, the win-or-the-season-is-over game for the Cavaliers. With the way J.R. Smith is playing, Hood should get a lot of run in that one.

The season is on the line. Leave it all out there on the court,” Hood said of the coming game Friday night. “Regardless of what happened, we come out and compete and get a win. The series isn’t over, and these guys [some Cavaliers teammates] have been in this position before. Us younger guys, new guys, we just have to follow their lead.”

NBA players were as impressed with Kevin Durant as you were

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Kevin Durant was a cold-blooded assassin.

Durant finished with 43 points on 23 shots, hit six threes, drained the deep dagger, and generally carried an off Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to a Game 3 win.

The showing overwhelmed the Cavaliers and it impressed other NBA players, who took to Twitter.

Brandon Rush, however, may have summed up the ultimate outcome best.