Bryan Colangelo has resigned as the president of basketball operations and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. What’s next for them?
Following a bizarre fiasco on Twitter, they now have a huge decision to make as they look to make a triumphant return to the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Not only do they have an amazing young core in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as well as a lottery pick in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft, they also have a lot of cap space to spend in free agency during an otherwise dry market.
The person who will replace Colangelo will have many weapons in their arsenal. We took a look at the best possible options (as well as some who are highly unlikely) that you should expect to hear linked to the team before they make a decision.
David Griffin, Cleveland Cavaliers GM (2014-17)
If the ultimate goal of completing The Process is to sign LeBron James as a free agent this offseason, the home-run hire would then be former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. He led the team to their first ever NBA championship and had a great relationship with The King as well. In a recent report by Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, he was described as the top candidate on the market and the “likely front-runner” for this job. And even if the team didn’t acquire LeBron, Griffin is still one of the best available executives right now and the Sixers would be in good hands if they hired him.
Mike Zarren, Boston Celtics Assistant GM
It’s no surprise that someone from the Boston Celtics would be at the top of this list considering how much success they’ve recently had as well as how many assets they’ve acquired. Zarren, a lifelong fan of the Celtics, has been long coveted for a bigger role by other teams around the league. It’s unclear if he would leave his hometown franchise for one of their biggest rivals.
Zarren was in “serious consideration” to become the general manager of the Sixers in 2012. One year later, word leaked that he was offered the position before it was given to Sam Hinkie. Boston’s GM Danny Ainge appears set to maintain his position for a long time and if Zarren were to leave, Philadelphia would certainly be an attractive destination given their young core and cap space.
Elton Brand, Delaware Blue Coats GM
Brand, a two-time All-Star and former No. 1 overall pick, was personally signed by Jerry Colangelo (who served as the Sixers’ chairman of basketball operations). Brand played one season for the team before he ventured into a front-office role, now serving as the general manager for their G League affiliate. He has played a key role in the scouting department with the franchise and is well-regarded by the organization and its fans. If they do plan to hire from within, he could be one of the top targets. The Sixers will also look at internal candidates, such as Marc Eversley and Ned Cohen, according to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.
Malik Rose, Erie BayHawks GM
When Rose played for the Spurs, current Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown was an assistant and the director of player development.
While he does not currently work for the organization, Rose is a two-time NBA champion as a player. He was originally born in Philadelphia and was named the G League’s Executive of the Year this season. As the current GM of the Atlanta Hawks’ G League team (the Erie BayHawks), he’s already stationed nearby in Pennsylvania.
He went to the same high school that Wilt Chamberlain attended in Philly and also attended college at Drexel in the city as well. Rose also served as the color commentator for the Sixers from 2011 until 2015 before venturing into a front office position with the Hawks.
Gersson Rosas, Houston Rockets VP of Basketball Ops
During his tenure with the Houston Rockets, he worked alongside former Philadelphia 76ers exec Sam Hinkie in the front office. He emerged as a leading candidate to become general manager of the Charlotte Hornets before the position was offered to Mitch Kupchak. He was also considered for the same job with the Brooklyn Nets in 2016. Rosas was in the running for the opening with the Detroit Pistons as recently as earlier this offseason.
Rosas is currently working with Team USA under Jerry Colangelo, who is still listed as a special adviser to the 76ers. It’s unclear if that’s a good thing , however, considering that his son was the one removed from the position (and he reportedly threatened to destroy the organization’s relationships with other teams if they fired his son). While he is not necessarily a front-runner, it’s worth keeping him in mind as their search progresses.
Trajan Langdon, Brooklyn Nets Assistant GM
While he is also in consideration for a gig with the Detroit Pistons, the Brooklyn Nets executive has been mentioned as a highly-touted front office prospect (via ESPN):
“When execs muse about the intangibles that make an effective general manager, they frequently cite range of experience as a helpful ingredient. In this event, Langdon has nearly every base covered. He played at college basketball’s royal academy in Duke, then in the NBA before venturing overseas, including a long stint with CSKA Moscow under Ettore Messina (and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov). Upon retirement, he joined the Spurs as a scout before serving in Cleveland’s front office.”
He is young but experienced and while he would bring a new identity, he would also help establish them as a contender.
Brett Brown, Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach
Brown, who is also a former assistant for the San Antonio Spurs, will oversee the team in the interim while they look for a permanent candidate. If they do not find a perfect fit, it’s possible they could hire from within and keep him in the role. But it’s worth mentioning that head coaches who also served as team executives have not fared well recently. Just look at those who have recently lost their positions, including Stan Van Gundy with the Detroit Pistons, Mike Budenholzer with the Atlanta Hawks and Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers.
LongShots Worth Mentioning
Justin Zanik, Utah Jazz Assistant GM
Troy Weaver, Oklahoma City Thunder Assistant GM
Tommy Sheppard, Washington Wizards VP of Basketball Ops
Brian Wright, San Antonio Spurs Assistant GM
Highly Doubtful Candidates
Sam Hinkie, Philadelphia 76ers GM (2013-16)
Danny Ferry, Atlanta Hawks GM (2012-15)
Chauncey Billups, ESPN NBA Analyst
Brent Barry, TNT NBA Analyst
Shane Battier, Miami Heat Director of Basketball Analytics
DunkWire, Brent Barry, Brett Brown, Brian Wright, Bryan Colangelo, Chauncey Billups, Danny Ferry, David Griffin, Elton Brand, Gersson Rosas, Justin Zanik, Malik Rose, Mike Zarren, Sam Hinkie, Shane Battier, Tommy Sheppard, Trajan Langdon, Troy Weaver, Philadelphia 76ers