A group of team owners got together to petition the NBA to step in and solve the management problems of the Philadelphia 76ers, several sources now say, and the pressure led to the hiring of Jerry Colangelo for a senior position on the troubled team.
ESPN reports that NBA commissioner Adam Silver worked closely with Colangelo and 76ers owner Joshua Harris, a move the owners applauded because Colangelo himself is a former owner of the Phoenix Suns.
“This season has not been easy for us and even more difficult than we anticipated,” Harris said. “Our situation needed a review to make our situation better.”
The 76ers have been struggling to rebuild and are having serious troubles going 38-148 over the past two-plus seasons and 1-21 to start this season. The team lost to the San Antonio Spurs by 51 points in their latest performance. Strangely, the franchise reportedly discusses a contract extension with head coach Brett Brown.
But the failed rebuilding effort under general manager Sam Hinkie is not nearly as much of a problem for the owners as the failing business climate of the team, sources say.
“Owners routinely complained about the economic drag the 76ers were inflicting on the league as the revenues of one of the largest-market teams — a franchise expected to contribute more robustly to league revenue-sharing — sagged,” ESPN reported.
Insiders say that other teams were all too often finding out that games against the 76ers were gate money losers.
As Tom Ziller of SBNation noted about the hiring of Colangelo, some tried to brush off this move as mere 76ers PR. In that view it is assumed that GM Hinkie will keep his hand firmly on the tiller. But others disagree with that assessment.
USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt, for one, said that on the contrary, “Don’t mistake this as a PR move or a consultation role. The 76ers hired Colangelo to rebuild the team faster than Hinkie.”
Regardless of the final outcome or intentions, Zillgitt says the whole situation is “not a good look” for the NBA.
“Silver caved to outside pressure,” Zillgitt wrote on Tuesday, “and then guided the Sixers off-course instead of telling the whisperers in his ear to fix the damn policy that put the Sixers on this course. The league office has seemed rejuvenated when it comes to the health of the game since Silver took over, but the Sixers debacle shows that meddling among the team owners is still how business is done in the NBA.”
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