After Sam Hinkie resigned as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, the wheels were set in motion for director of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo to hire a replacement. Come Sunday or Monday at the latest, the Sixers are expected to announce the results of that expansive search and that person will undoubtedly be Bryan Colangelo.
If the name sounds familiar, it should, because Bryan is Jerry’s son. This hiring is more than bad optics or bad form, but a bad idea in general. When Jerry was hired—some say forced upon by the NBA—in December, there were a lot of eyebrows raised by Sixers fans, because the elder Colangelo is 77 and could not be expected to revise the Hinkie plan all by himself.
They could not have expected, though, the hiring to be a way to get his kid a job, which is what this is looking like now. This will be the younger Colangelo’s third GM job and there are no NBA championship trophies in his closet. This will perpetuate the belief “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and, at least with Hinkie, his dad did not get him the job.
Bryan was GM with the Phoenix Suns, then had a falling out with owner Robert Sarver and decided to get another job. His next landing spot was with the Toronto Raptors where he spent eight mostly forgettable seasons with just one winning record.
A week ago, Jerry Colangelo drove Hinkie out with a statement that Hinkie needed to look more short-term than long-term. Hinkie laid the groundwork for future success with four first-round draft picks, with the first two—Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid—being lottery ones. Two more lottery picks are likely ahead.
Now, with success just over the horizon, Hinkie is out and the son of a club executive figures to sow the rewards of a promising future. It doesn’t seem fair, but involving a family member in the hiring process rarely is.