By Peter Gleason
It may be impossible to say what the tipping point was in Sixers’ owner Josh Harris’ decision to bring NBA Wise Man Jerry Colangelo in to oversee the show.
This season is the third in general manager Sam Hinkie’s “process” which, counting last night’s blowout by the Spurs at home, has made the Sixers’ record 1-21.
But I think last week in Madison Square Garden — when the team announced that 19-year-old rookie center Jahlil Okafor was being suspended two games for his off-court reckless behavior — was Harris’ ah-ha moment.
Hinkie (above) was in the Garden but waved away media types who wanted comment, leaving overwrought coach Brett Brown to field the questions and take the heat.
Whatever the last straw was, Harris dropped a bombshell at a surprise press conference Monday afternoon, announcing that the Sixers have hired Hall of Famer and basketball sage Colangelo as the team’s new chairman of basketball operations.
This sure seems like bad news for current Hinkie, who is about as people-friendly as a turnip.
He has been the public face of and organization that has, because of a cynical, protracted tanking campaign, run afoul of GMs and agents across the league. (As it turns out, agents don’t really like teams that waive guys without a word of warning and have no interest in spending money on real NBA talent.)
The thinking here is that Colangelo is just there to talk nice to the rest of the league while Hinkie continues to perform his dark magicks in the shadows.
It’s hard to imagine a guy with Colangelo’s pedigree not insisting on having some say in the direction of the franchise. What motivation would a guy with his résumé have to join a new team and then do nothing? Once you let a guy like Colangelo in the building, he’s in the building, and his fingerprints are going to end up on the franchise, even if Hinkie is supposedly keeping the final say.