FILE - In this May 11, 2018, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo speaks with members of the media during a news conference at the NBA basketball team’s practice facility in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Bryan Colangelo resigns as 76ers president

The former Toronto Raptors GM was caught up in a Twitter storm when his wife used fake accounts to troll current players, staff

Bryan Colangelo may not have authored any of the tweets himself, but he seemed to provide private information that went into them.

And when his wife used those details to criticize his own players or rival colleagues, Colangelo and the Philadelphia 76ers knew he could no longer remain their top basketball executive.

Colangelo resigned Thursday as president of basketball operations for the 76ers in the wake of what an investigation found was “careless and in some instances reckless” sharing of sensitive team information.

The independent review by a law firm did not determine that Colangelo operated or was even aware of Twitter accounts that anonymously trashed some of his own players and fellow executives, and defended him against criticism from fans and the sports media.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP said evidence supported the conclusion that Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, operated the four accounts it investigated, and she admitted to doing so — though also said she deleted contents of her iPhone with a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review, limiting the investigation.

“Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club-related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts,” the report said. “We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization.”

As for Colangelo, there was no evidence he knew of the accounts before a May 22 inquiry from the sports website The Ringer for a story it reported linking him to five Twitter accounts that took aim at Philadelphia players Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, Toronto Raptors executive Masai Ujiri and former Sixers players Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel.

Colangelo released a statement disputing that his conduct was reckless.

“At no point did I ever purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her,” he said.

“Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognize how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent. Further, the content she shared was filled with inaccuracies and conjecture which in no way represent my own views or opinions.”

Evidence found that Bottini established and operated four of the accounts — Eric jr, Still Balling, Enoughunkownsources, and HonestAbe — but it seemed some of the information being posted, such as details of trade discussions or medical reports, was coming from Colangelo himself.

As such, the team said it had “become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised” and that it had accepted his resignation.

“We find the situation to be disappointing for our entire organization,” 76ers managing partner Josh Harris said. “We are determined to continue the tremendous progress we have made over the last two seasons in our quest to win an NBA championship.”

It’s a stunning fall for Colangelo, a former two-time Executive of the Year who was expected to lead the improving 76ers into an important summer when they are hoping to pursue LeBron James or another All-Star player to add to a young core that includes Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Instead that role will be led for now by coach Brett Brown. The 76ers said he would oversee basketball operations on an interim basis and that the search for a new general manager would begin immediately.

“You never want to see someone’s job end through an unfortunate circumstance like this. I certainly understand from the 76ers’ standpoint that that bond has been broken,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “It’s not even necessary to assign fault, just the reality of where they all find themselves. I think Bryan recognizes like that as well, that these teams are like families and it can get to a point where it becomes dysfunctional and I think that’s where they found themselves right now.”

Colangelo, the son of longtime sports executive Jerry Colangelo, was hired as president of basketball operations in 2016 after Hinkie abruptly resigned. Hinkie was the architect behind what has been called “The Process” — the long-term tearing down and rebuilding of the Sixers.

Colangelo previously served as Raptors general manager, adding the 2007 Executive of the Year award to the one he won two years earlier in Phoenix. But he lost his job there after Toronto missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, and Ujiri took over basketball operations.

“Over the last two years, I have worked hard to help build a foundation for what I hope will soon be many championship seasons for the 76ers,” Colangelo said. “I am grateful to team owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer for the opportunity they gave me to be part of such a great organization. I am saddened to have to leave under these circumstances.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Anglers furious over VIP fishing trip

DFO, SkeenaWild both investigating legality of FN research licence to fishing party

Work begins to remove cargo from grounded Haida Gwaii barge and fishing lodge

Westcoast Resorts’ Hippa Lodge broke from its moorings and ran aground early this month

Visibility improvements coming for Prince Rupert’s downtown streets

Work on McBride Street and Second Avenue intersections, crosswalks, will take place this fall

Pipeline challenger says his feelings are irrelevant

The prospect of a federal review has Kitimat and Terrace businesses and residents worried

Prince Rupert receives Softball BC’s association of the year nomination

Association could receive $1,000 and a free coaching clinic as prizes

More than 125 runners take part in Northern View Cannery Road Race

Teen Terrace runners first to finish 5km and 10km, Prince Rupert runner wins 21km race

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read