Will Bryan Colangelo Saga Prevent the 76ers From Pursuing Potential Big-Name Free Agents?

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In the most recent episode of the Open Floor podcast, Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver discussed the Bryan Colangelo saga shortly before he parted ways with the Philadelphia 76ers. A major focus of the conversation centered around whether the Colangelo situation could deter high-level free agents from coming to Philadelphia. 

(Listen to the latest Open Floor Podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Andrew Sharp: Going forward though, I don’t think that this will affect their chances of signing LeBron because LeBron is in such a unique place that I think he wasn’t coming to the Sixers because of the stability that Bryan Colangelo provided to the organization. I think, if anything, he was coming because Colangelo was already sort of a lame duck who was going to do whatever he asked and I’m sure whoever they replace him with will probably take a similar tact whenever it’s time to talk to LeBron.

But, having said that, this is the worst possible time for the Sixers to be without a GM because even if they don’t get LeBron, this will be a massive massive summer for them. It’s something they’ve been planning for for years and they need to get some superstar. They saved max cap space for exactly that reason and if they don’t get that, they still need to bring back (JJ) Redick and (Marco) Belinelli and some of the guys who keyed their run down the stretch this year. They also have the 10th pick in the draft. So there are a ton of balls in the air and they need to have someone in charge so it’s shocking to me that it’s gone on as long as it has. 

Ben Golliver: Yeah I mean, I think ultimately the deciding factors for the superstars are going to be do they want to play with (Ben) Simmons and (Joel) Embiid? Are they going to be fits there? And who is writing the tweets or deleting the tweets or opening the burner accounts or managing the organization or whatever? That could be a secondary concern for those A-level guys and it kinda comes down to—for the Paul Georges and LeBrons of the world—are these guys good enough at this point, are they rock solid block type players where you don’t have any worries about possible fit.

I’m still not quite there yet, Andrew. I know we raised some questions about LeBron’s fit in Philadelphia because he always wants to have the ball and what does that mean for Simmons. Simmons always wants to have the ball, what does that mean for LeBron? How well do they all fit kinda personality wise with Embiid? I mean obviously, if you get the chance to do it, you do it. But I don’t think you call it a no-brainer. So when it comes to (the Colangelo scandal) does it wind up being a tiebreaker or a little bit of a turnoff? Yeah, that wouldn’t surprise me given that there were already some fundamental questions upfront. 

Sharp: Yeah what’s interesting and this is where, again, it’s important to have a general manager, is I think one of the things that could tip the scales in Philly’s favor is if they’re able to execute like a Kawhi trade a week before free agency leading up to the draft. I think that would be a huge chip to play and then suddenly you’re coming to LeBron and instead of saying “Do you want to trust the next three or four years of your career to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons?” Instead, you’re saying “Do you want to come to Philly and create a real-life version of the Monstars where you can beat the Warriors by just being twice as big and beating the crap out of them.

I think that’s kind of a compelling case to sell to him but it’s going to take some real skill to have those pieces fall into place. And I don’t know, it’s not looking great. The Colangelo thing is funny because on the last podcast I was kind of giving you crap about acting as if Colangelo was the one crafting those tweets and that was because the past few days it had become clear that it was his wife kinda writing most of them. And since that podcast, now there are certain tweets where it was 100% not his wife. I don’t know if it was Colangelo writing them but I saw one where he was making an allusion to Mark Aguire and a trade from the Mavericks to the Pistons, like a deep cut that only a basketball lifer would be capable of drawing on. So if you want to go deep into the Colangelo saga, rest assured it continues to be incredibly weird. I’ve gotten lost in that wormhole a couple different times over the past week. 

Golliver: Your empathy knows no bounds. First J.R. Smith is off the hook, now Bryan Colangelo who obviously wrote these tweets. Allegedly but obviously wrote some of these tweets. You’re like, well maybe. He didn’t include his social security number so I’m not sure. 

Sharp: It turns out Colangelo and his wife were co-operating these burners. They’re like the Mr. and Mrs. Smith of burner accounts. 

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