The Bryan Colangelo era with the Philadelphia 76ers is over.
Earlier today, the team announced that Colangelo resigned as president of basketball operations. This comes in the aftermath of one of the strangest sagas in recent NBA memory involving social media.
This began on May 29 when Ben Detrick of The Ringer published a story alleging Colangelo of having up to five ‘burner’ accounts on Twitter. Four of the five accounts posted criticisms of Sixers players and personnel while defending Colangelo. Those same accounts also posted details that would only be known to the Philadelphia front office such as center Jahlil Okafor failing a physical that voided a trade for him. One account whose handle was @phila1234567 didn’t tweet but followed Sixers personnel, players, and media covering the team.
The article triggered an investigation by the Sixers into the matter. The outside law firm conducting the inquiry found that Colangelo’s wife Barbara Bottini created the accounts in question but used him as a source of information. This allegation is disputed by Colangelo.
Burner accounts, the social media equivalent of aliases, have become more prevalent in the last few years. The NBA has already seen its share of this trend when Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant admitted to having them after accidentally using his main Twitter account to respond to a fan but referring to himself in the third person.
While Durant’s use of burner accounts was harmless in context Colangelo’s use was more serious. The accounts made sensitive information known to the public and would have cast a shadow over the Sixers as the team is preparing to sell their young core of center Joel Embiid, forward Dario Saric, and guard Ben Simmons to top free agents including likely top prize LeBron James.
The task is selling the Sixers to free agents now will on head coach Brett Brown who signed a three-year contract extension in the end of May.