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

GALLERY: Fernie hosts mine rescue competition

Fording River, Line Creek mine rescue teams off to provincials after placing first and second

Fernie beer named Canada’s best pale ale

Fernie Brewing Company’s Campout West Coast Pale finishes first at the Canadian Brewing Awards

Cannabis yoga a budding trend in Fernie

Yoga studio, cannabis educator team up to offer Fernie’s first cannabis yoga classes from May 17

Sparwood’s Momma Di a mother to many

The Free Press competition winner revealed; plus Mother’s Day around the Valley

An Everest fundraiser

Man set to climb elevation of Mt. Everest in one day to raise school lunch funds

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

UPDATE: Aggressive coyote moves to Sparwood

Residents urged not to feed or approach the animal

City of Fernie to hold referendum for multi-purpose centre loan

Council opts for assent voting after petition calling for a referendum garners over 500 signatures

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read