Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Emergency Roundtable: Sixers Hire Colangelo

1. In a sentence, what was your first reaction to Jerry Colangelo emerging from behind the curtain?
Justin F: An initial excitement at someone new coming in and adding a collaborative voice to The Process.
Jake Fischer: I thought Team USA was going to christen the Sixers' new state-of-the-art practice facility this summer.
Matt Carey: Oh no, there's a lost old man wandering on stage, how did he get there...wait a minute is that Jerry Colangelo?
Max Rappaport: It all happened so fast that my first thought, stupid as it may seem, was that he was simply visiting for some other reason and was just going to take a seat alongside the media to watch the presser.
Kyle Neubeck: The Sixers reacted too strongly to the public saying they needed veterans. 76 is pushing it.
Michael Levin: Real shame that charity event at the Palestra didn't get the nationally televised press conference it deserved.
2. Articles since the presser have indicated that Hinkie has lost power and may be on his way out, and that Adam Silver and other owners were involved in getting the Sixers to hire Colangelo. Have those revelations changed your opinion from the first reaction?
Justin F: Yes. Adam Silver's involvement is strange considering his previous laissez-faire approach in dealing directly with the Sixers, and the fact that there are actual tire fire organizations in the NBA, the Sixers being not one of them, that are not getting Silver's added hand. Upon reflecting more, my fear is Colangelo's seemingly enforced "tweaking" of "the plan" is going to be designed toward overpaying free agents and in three years the Sixers will be back to where they were four years ago.
Jake Fischer: Reading ominous articles hinting towards Sam Hinkie's downfall and ultimate axe is of course terrifying. There's a legitimate fear now that fast-forwarding this rebuild could lead to short-sighted, ultimately existential-threat moves that crater this team's ceiling. But I am optimistic that this "Colangelo takeover" narrative has a lot more steam now based on conjecture rather than actual expectations sourced from Joshua Harris. I think we'll come to learn that Adam Silver's involvement stemmed from Harris reaching out to Silver to be a character witness for the Sixers' ownership group and help sell Colangelo on the move.
Matt Carey: I just don't know what to think about all of it. National writers get a lot of their information from agents, agents hate Hinkie, etc. My instincts tell me "no, this ownership isn't about to throw everything away to hire 76-year old Jerry Colangelo to run their team," but desperate teams do dumb things all the time, maybe this is our turn. Honestly though, I still think this is more PR than anything. I think if they were going to pull the plug on Hinkie, they would have just done it. Everybody would've understood for the most part. They took great pains to say Hinkie has final say, so either they're flat out lying, or Colangelo's just here to be an advisor.
Max Rappaport: After the initial shock wore off, I was actually pretty excited about the move. But I've long said that the most important variable that will determine whether or not this plan works is ownership losing patience, and there were some things Josh Harris said during that press conference that made me feel as if that could be happening. The reports that have come out, particularly about Adam Silver being involved in the hiring of Colangelo, frankly scare the shit out of me. We've come so far and sacrificed so much, and the thought of this regime throwing it all away to hastily acquire a borderline star makes me want to become a Wolves fan.
Kyle Neubeck: Considering how little any reporter knew about the press conference before it happened - which is to say zero - I find it hard to believe they suddenly have all sorts of hot #scoops on the Sixers front office alignment. Additionally, would Silver's involvement necessarily be a bad thing? He has been vocally supportive at times throughout the last few seasons, and it's possible Josh Harris used his Phone-a-Friend lifeline to persuade an old man to take on extra responsibilities.
Michael Levin: At first, yes. I think there's likely some truth in all of this, but we knew the Sixers had a bad reputation among agents and rival execs. That journalists who didn't get the report initially are hearing bad things about the Sixers from those sources is not surprising. Ultimately, I think a ton of what was reported after the fact is conjecture.
Roy Burton: Those post-presser articles are filled with a lot of speculation, but I'll say this: Sam Hinkie's influence in the organization is noticeably different now than it was when he woke up yesterday.
3. What's the best thing about the move? What's the worst thing about the move?
Justin F: The best thing about this move is the addition of an extra voice to the room, something that's a real, live good thing. The worst thing about the move is the indication that Adam Silver and/or Josh Harris may not totally be thrilled with Sam Hinkie and The Process. Even if Colangelo is not directly involved with player personnel decisions that this is where Harris's and/or Silver's head is currently at in regards to the Sixers isn't a particularly strong vote of confidence in the current direction of franchise.
Jake Fischer: Colangelo's presence instantly repairs the broken image some agents and players had of the team's front office and credibility. I checked with multiple player reps following the announcement, who all agreed Colangelo adds a legitimacy to the regime amongst "basketball guys" that have ridiculed Hinkie's data-driven front office. With that, Colangelo could be a forceful presence in meetings with potential free agents this summer and the years ahead. Having one of the most successful executives in NBA history on your side of the table is obviously a major asset in that situation. Of course, that amount of power for Colangelo could ultimately lead to a clash with Hinkie and create a situation in the team's front office similar to what's ongoing in Sacramento. But, if Colangelo merely heads the free agency pitches and Hinkie is still in control of the draft process, talent evaluation and trades, it could ultimately be a very harmonious relationship.
Matt Carey: The best thing is that Colangelo has an excellent reputation around the league, which nicely counters the Sixers horrible reputation. They needed to do something to stem the tide of bad publicity they were getting. If they can work out a situation where Hinkie does the deals and Colangelo placates the other groups that need placating (agents, media, etc.), that'd be really awesome. The worst thing is that it could all blow up spectacularly. Colangelo could say things that counter what Hinkie is doing. They could disagree so much that the situation becomes untenable. There's a lot of ways it could go wrong.
Max Rappaport: The best thing about the move is that it provides the team with a largely clean moral slate moving forward. My biggest criticism of the rebuild's execution to this point has been the negative reputation the team has earned around the league and the possibility of that perception hurting their ability to sign attract and retain talent in the future. Hiring Colangelo negates that. The worst thing about this move is that it is potentially the result of unrest amongst ownership about the direction of the team. If this is truly the first domino to fall in the dismantling of The Process, I hope their plan is better than what we were given in the two-and-a-half decades that preceded Hinkie's reign.
Kyle Neubeck: Best: Colangelo has decades of experience, and GOOD experience at that. He's the seasoned pro and people person that can help schmooze agents (and possibly get the Sixers on the winning end of a Barkley-level deal this time). Worst: The reemergence of the "basketball guy" narrative. It bothers me to no end that the realm of sports is so circle-jerky regarding who can and can't be successful at evaluating talent.
Michael Levin: Best: It's adding another respected voice to a front office that needs one, publicly at least. To me, that tamps down the outcry for "somebody in there that knows what the heck they're doing" or whatever your uncle or barber is saying. I think no matter what, this elevates their level of respect around the league. That doesn't matter to me personally, but it does to players and agents and GMs they're trying to trade with. Worst: Hinkie not eventually getting sole credit hurts me some. But we'll know. We'll know.
Roy Burton: I think this is a huge positive when it comes to dealing with agents and players. There's something to be said about the human aspect of The Process, and Colangelo is a respected figure who should be able to repair some of those relationships that have been damaged over the past couple of years.
4. Do you foresee this change at the top working out? Or is this the beginning of the end of The Process?
Justin F: 76-year-old Jerry Colangelo working out of Phoenix, Arizona is not usurping Sam Hinkie overnight or any time long-term. In the grand scheme of things, this will be a non-issue going forward and Hinkie will remain in control of basketball decisions for the foreseeable future.
Jake Fischer: There's no reason to doom this a failure with undoubted fissures coming in the front office. This team literally can't get any worse than it is right now.
Matt Carey: I don't know if I see it working out because I don't know what would constitute it working. If they sign a free agent, is that because Colangelo's here, or was that something that was going to be done already? There's been a lot of chatter that this is the end of the process, and for me, I already thought the process was about to be accelerated. They have four first round picks next year, plus the potential addition of Dario Saric and maybe even Joel Embiid having two usable feet. I don't think anyone of us thought Hinkie had endless rope, and I think most people saw the summer of 2016 as the year where things needed to start to turn, and personally, I thought it was the point where it was very fair to ask if the results were adequate. Ultimately, I think we need to wait-and-see what the next moves are.
Max Rappaport: At this moment, I'm feeling very uneasy about this whole situation. I badly want to believe this will be the harmonious, symbiotic relationship the team is championing it as, but I can't shake the feeling that in a few years we might find ourselves in Vivek-ian NBA purgatory. I hope to god I'm wrong and that somebody screenshots this come July to tweet at me and call me an idiot.
Kyle Neubeck: I'm going to cop out and say, "Who knows?" The extended version of that answer is we won't really be able to tell what kind of impact this move has until moves are made or someone's head rolls. The fact that Hinkie is still here is sort of an endorsement of The Process in itself; the public, outside of our rabid cult, would react with positivity/understanding if the architect of this shit show got canned immediately. For now, I'm cool like the Fonz.
Michael Levin: I don't think it changes a ton with timeline. It solidifies it, sure. Hinkie gets a year, with Colangelo there to oversee things. But I'm going to keep saying that this shows me they remain confident in Hinkie executing the plan. If they weren't, he'd be fired. Hinkie has his weaknesses, and this move was made from the PR standpoint to mitigate those weaknesses. Jerry should help! Process 2.0!
Roy Burton: It all depends on what your definition of "working out" is. Are we judging it based on the success of the team? Or are we merely evaluating things based on whether or not Hinkie and Colangelo can figure out how to peacefully co-exist? And quite frankly, and 76 years old, I'm not even sure Colangelo will be here long enough for us to get definitive answers to either question.

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