Smallwood: Does 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo know what he's doing?
Hey, Bryan Colangelo, excuse me, but are you paying attention? I understand that a person in your position as president and general manager of the Sixers can become insulated. But if you have not been listening or reading lately, you might want to.
Hey, Bryan Colangelo, excuse me, but are you paying attention?
I understand that a person in your position as president and general manager of the Sixers can become insulated. But if you have not been listening or reading lately, you might want to.
I read the message boards and listen to sports talk radio.
People are talking about you, and it hasn't been flattering. In fact, it's been the opposite.
To be blunt, they are skewering you.
People are using words like "bum," "con artist" and "liar" when referencing you.
They are saying things such as Colangelo is "in over his head" and "nothing has changed" and "the Sixers are back in tank mode again."
Your boss, Josh Harris, is being called a "carpetbagger," an owner who cares only about the financial windfalls the Sixers can produce.
Forbes magazine just valued the Sixers at $800 million — nearly triple the $280 million that Harris and his ownership group paid for the franchise — yet this is the fourth straight year that the team will have to add salary just to reach the NBA's salary-cap floor.
The Sixers are about $8.1 million from the minimum threshold of $84.7 million.
A few weeks ago, the Sixers were the toast of Philadelphia sports.
That hot month of January had the Sixers looking like a real live, competitive NBA team. Fans were filling up the Wells Fargo Center to watch this team perform.
Now there is this aura of mistrust and suspicion. People think the organization is trying to run a game on them.
That's bad. That is not what this franchise needs — not after Sixers fans were starting to reconnect after three seasons of suffering in wastelands.
Even with rookie superstar Joel Embiid missing so many games and No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons not having played a second, this team has shown the kind of grit and moxie that Philadelphians embrace.
They like the players. They've even finally warmed up to coach Brett Brown.
You, Bryan, however, they're having a problem with, and it's your own fault.
I'm sure there were worse ways Colangelo could have navigated the controversies of the past week. I'm just having a hard time thinking of them.
Instead of a guy who was a two-time NBA Executive of the Year, Colangelo looked like a novice dealing with his first crisis.
He bungled it.
Colangelo was forced to acknowledge that he hid the fact that besides a bone bruise, Embiid has a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Colangelo said in a radio interview that the plan is to have Simmons play this season. The next day, however, Brown said Simmons won't practice five-on-five during the All-Star break, making it seem unlikely that he will play this season.
In the latest twist, Brown said Wednesday that both Simmons and Embiid indeed will play.
A lot of fans think they are being duped. They want clarity.
Managing this should not have been hard — especially for someone with 18 years of experience as a general manager.
Colangelo, however, has looked like an amateur.
Now there is the latest mismanagement of second-year center Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor played Wednesday night in Boston.
This is the same Okafor who was a healthy scratch for the previous two games because, as Brown said, "He's in the middle of being discussed in trade scenarios and so I felt that it complicates things to play him and now this is continuing on and that's the reason he isn't here."
We understand that trades can take time to come together. Still, explain how it made any sense to play Okafor in Boston.
It was the last game before the All-Star break. It was the Sixers' last game before the trade deadline at 3 p.m. on Feb. 23.
What benefit did the organization gain from Okafor playing? Imagine if he had gotten hurt.
That could have crushed any trade possibility.
This should not have been hard.
Brown should not have said Okafor was sitting because of trade talks unless a deal was imminent, but he did.
Colangelo, however, compounded that mistake by sending Okafor to Boston.
All that did was increase the confusion in what has been a ball of confusion for most of the entire season.
It was another head-scratching decision by Colangelo. If he makes enough of those, people will start to think he's operating on a wing and a prayer instead of having a concrete plan of action.
It's astonishing for a guy who came to the Sixers with a resume that includes two honors as NBA Executive of the Year could look so much like a novice over the past seven days.
Colangelo had to know he would get no honeymoon — not with his father, Jerry Colangelo, hiring him and former president/GM Sam Hinkie quitting rather than be reassigned.
It was imperative that Colangelo hit the floor running and keep moving forward. During the past seven days, he's crashed going over what should have been speed bumps.
Hey, Bryan, people are talking, and some of the things they are saying aren't nice. Unless you tighten things up and start showing that you know what you're doing, the talk will get even nastier.