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Bumpy departure for Colangelo

Posted by Eric Fisher On June 7

Bryan Colangelo’s tenure with the 76ers is over.

But the story may not be over. Not by a long shot.

If the handling of Colangelo’s departure from the 76ers on Thursday is an accurate barometer, we may be hearing much more about the Twitter accounts that led to the downfall of the Sixers’ president of basketball operations.

The team and Colangelo couldn’t even agree on how he left. The Sixers released a statement from majority owner Josh Harris saying the organization accepted Colangelo’s resignation. Colangelo issued his own statement in which he said “the organization and I have mutually agreed to part ways.”

Colangelo’s statement starts out with: “While I am grateful that the independent investigation by the 76ers has confirmed that I had no knowledge of the Twitter activity conducted by my wife, …”

The Sixers’ investigation, however, doesn’t say that Colangelo didn’t have any knowledge of the Twitter accounts that contained numerous posts criticizing Sixers players, coaching decisions, ex-Sixers and former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie. It states “We cannot conclude that Mr. Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts prior to the May 22 press inquiry.” But the investigation also notes that “our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini (Colangelo’s wife), including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review.”

Barbara Bottini admitted to establishing and operating the Twitter accounts. Although Colangelo says he didn’t know his wife was posting on Twitter, three of the five accounts were changed to private within 20 minutes of an inquiry to the Sixers by Ben Detrick of “the Ringer” about two other Twitter accounts.

Far from exonerating Colangelo, the report by the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP concluded that Colangelo was “the source of sensitive, non-public club-related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization.”

Colangelo, through his statement, disputes that finding. “I vigorously dispute the allegations that my conduct was in any way reckless. At no point did I purposefully or directly share any sensitive, non-public, club-related information with her.”

Regarding his wife, Colangelo maintains that “Her actions were a seriously misguided effort to publicly defend and support me, and while I recognize how inappropriate these actions were, she acted independently and without my knowledge or consent.”

The one thing both sides agree upon is that Colangelo is gone after two seasons with the Sixers. Head coach Brett Brown takes over personnel matters two weeks before the NBA Draft, in which the Sixers have the 10th and 26th overall selections. There are also some big-name players who may hit the free-agent market at the end of this month.

The possibility of scaring away free agents was one reason why it seemed difficult to imagine Colangelo retaining his job, regardless of whether he was the one who actually posted on Twitter.

Harris’ statement read, “It has become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and ability to lead the 76ers moving forward had been compromised. Recognizing the detrimental impact this had on the organization, Colangelo offered his resignation.”

Colangelo, of course, denied that he resigned.

Stay tuned in to this story. It appears there may be more to come.

A lot more.

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