The NBA Draft and free agency are looming. That’s hardly a secret.
But for the Philadelphia 76ers, this is arguably the most important offseason in franchise history. After four tank-a-thon seasons, which produced 75 total wins, the Sixers finally broke through with 52 victories and a first-round playoff series win over the Miami Heat before falling to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Despite the momentum, a controversy had been swirling after a report surfaced in The Ringer about secret Twitter accounts linked to President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo. Following a lengthy investigation, Colangelo was dismissed from his front office role last week.
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Suddenly, the Sixers are in need of a president as head coach Brett Brown assumes the position on an interim basis.
The timing is hardly ideal. Yet, that’s what the situation is in this bitter reality.
It’s still a high-profile job through league circles and a replacement is needed.
Here are Metro’s five top candidates to fill Colangelo’s old post:
1. David Griffin – The former general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-17 would be an obvious link to potential free agent LeBron James if he opts out of his contract. Griffin won a championship with the Cavaliers in ’16 and has strong ties to James, which helps immensely. If the Sixers are able to sign James, they’ll be automatic favorites in the Eastern Conference. James would be the perfect piece to guide the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons deeper in the playoffs. No executive is perfect and Griffin was a part of the group that selected Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 overall pick. He’s currently out of the league and considered to already be one of the biggest busts in league history.
2. Mike Zarren – Zarren has learned the inner workings of the league with one of the best executives in Danny Ainge in Boston. The Sixers have been intrigued with Zarren for quite some time as they inquired about his services before hiring Sam Hinkie in 2013. Zarren is considered one of the up-and-coming executives in the league and would be a solid choice to come into a franchise with a young and exciting roster.
3. Marc Eversley – Eversley would be a terrific hire and the franchise wouldn’t have to go outside to make it happen. He’s currently the Sixers’ Vice President of Player Personnel and has been a highly regarded part of the front office. He would seem to be an easy candidate to step in and not miss a beat with the franchise rebuild. It might be early in his career to take such a big step, but it could be done without a major search.
4. Joe Dumars – Dumars was a huge success with the Detroit Pistons for a number of years and won Executive of the Year in 2002-03 and a championship the following season. He stepped down as president at the end of the 2014 season with the Pistons. Dumars connects the past to the present, has a good working relationship with executives throughout the league, and would step in with this franchise and have immediate respect. He should be considered.
5. Danny Ferry – Ferry worked with Brown in their San Antonio Spurs days. He had a rocky exit from the Atlanta Hawks when he was alleged to have read a racially insensitive scouting report about former player Luol Deng. Ferry’s complete body of work has been solid, however, and he’s extremely knowledgeable about the NBA.