The Bryan Colangelo Twitter fiasco is now in the rearview mirror; the Philadelphia 76ers former President of Basketball Operations has officially resigned from the position. Still, the fallout remains. And, now, the 76ers are quickly moving towards one of the most important decisions of their offseason.
Who will take his place?
In a vacuum, replacing Colangelo isn’t necessarily a huge deal; the 76ers find those qualified for the job, talk specifics and try to work something out. However, in an offseason where the 76ers must continue to improve, as well as one so fraught with available, big-name talent, things just feel different.
In order to acquire some of that talent (including a potential run at LeBron James), Philadelphia needs a leader in addition to the look of an organization that is stable, from top to bottom. So, who are those best equipt to step in?
This seems rather obvious, no?
Sam Hinkie being brought back to finish the Process he started years ago would almost be poetic. Not to mention, the conspiracy theories tying him to the departure of Colangelo would be more than fun to read.
All jokes aside, Hinkie, who was recently brought on by the Denver Broncos as an analytics consultant, is well equipped to do the job, perhaps one of the 76ers’ best options. While the NBA may not enjoy his return to the spotlight, Hinkie is already familiar with some of the team personnel — both players and team officials — and knows what he is doing. While many may not agree with his “Process,” Hinkie laid out a plan to return the franchise to success and, clearly, things worked out in the end.
While it would be different from his previous stint with the team, allowing Hinkie to work with a roster not devoid of talent wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for the 76ers.
If Philadelphia does, in fact, hope to land James in free agency, bringing in David Griffin beforehand may be the team’s best play and, potentially, one of their biggest bartering chips come July.
Griffin and James have a long-standing relationship and having him around would seemingly serve to increase Philadelphia’s chances of landing the biggest fish on the market. Griffin has James’ respect and the trust to build a high caliber team around him. In the 76ers’ case, much of that team is already in place on the roster.
Beyond James, Griffin is more than capable of the job after navigating the field with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Between his ascension to the General Manager position and his departure from the team prior to this season, Griffin remolded the Cavaliers roster and turned them into a championship contender. In addition to bringing James home, Griffin acquired Kevin Love, among others, and helped bring Cleveland their first NBA title in 2016.
Mike Zarren, Boston Celtics Assistant General Manager
Mike Zarren has been a part of the Boston Celtics front office for a very long time and is a big reason why the team is currently in such a favorable position. And who better to poach talent from than, perhaps, your biggest competition in the conference?
Zarren was actually in the running for the same role back in 2013 before withdrawing from consideration (Philadelphia hired Hinkie soon after). One of the brightest minds in the game, Zarren could be the perfect candidate to lead the 76ers’ continued charge to the Promised Land. With an analytical background ala Hinkie, he would also be a great fit alongside Philadelphia’s “Trust the Process” mantra and fans.
The one barrier the team could face with Zarren may be his Boston fandom. Zarren, a Massachusetts native, and his family bleed green — they even own Celtics season tickets — and he has already passed on the team once to stay in Boston. If the 76ers can actually get him out of the city, however, Zarren could find himself near the top of the list of candidates.
Gersson Rosas, Houston Rockets Assistant General Manager
During his time in Houston, Gresson Rosas has helped Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey construct a roster that was on the verge of and likely would have, if not for an injury to Chris Paul, toppled the current iteration of the Golden State Warriors — one of the greatest collections of pure talent in NBA history — in the Western Conference Finals. Like Zarren, his involvement alone is almost enough to consider Rosas for the job.
Beyond that, Rosas brings experience to the job. He has worked with the Rockets organization for over a decade, including a stint where he worked alongside Hinkie, has done work for the US Men’s National Team alongside Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo and has even been a serious candidate for similar roles in the past — Rosas was a candidate for both the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons vacancies earlier this year.
Brian Wright, San Antonio Spurs Assistant General Manager
Brian Wright is young, but he could definitely be a name the 76ers consider as they move through their search. Wright has experience with the Pistons and Spurs, starting out as an intern before making taking claim of the Spurs’ Assistant General Manager position back in 2016. While they had some issues this past season, the Spurs still represent the NBA’s model franchise, from an organizational standpoint. Bringing that type of mindset and winning attitude could be a boon for the team.
Having worked with the Spurs, there is also a familiarity between Wright and 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown. Greater still, Wright would provide the 76ers with a connection to Kawhi Leonard who, while not currently available, could be a target for Philadelphia later in the offseason as things continue to unfold as they have this past season.
Marc Eversley, 76ers Vice President of Player Personel
If the team is looking to promote from within, Marc Eversley may be the 76ers’ guy.
Eversley joined Philadelphia shortly after Colangelo did back in 2016. In Eversley, Philadelphia would have a candidate who already has a clear understanding of inner workings of the team as well as pre-established relationships with players and others in the front office. He would provide a smooth transition for a team looking to fly under the radar and not shoot themselves in the foot even more in the wake of the Colangelo departure.
Even if he isn’t their first choice, Eversley will likely have a larger role to play in the interim as they 76ers continue to look ahead to free agency and the draft — the team could view his as “tryout” type situation.
Regardless of who they end up going with, the decisions that lie in the 76ers immediate future are big. Following Colangelo’s resignation, Philadelphia’s course of action could have a lasting effect on their offseason and future.
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