Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Philadelphia 76ers executive could lose job over 'burnergate' scandal, report says

The Philadelphia 76ers are considering the dismissal of general manager Bryan Colangelo as they continue their investigation into secret Twitter accounts used to criticize players and executives, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. Centre Joel Embiid, guard Markelle Fultz, former president of basketball operations and general manager Sam Hinkie and Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri all drew criticism from the accounts. The group, according to sources, considers Friday-evening firings less distracting because very few people will be in the office Saturday when the former employee cleans out his belongings.

According to both websites, some league sources say that Colangelo may lose his job as Sixers president as a result of the incident. He did not immediately return messages from the Inquirer.

The accounts always defended Colangelo.

"The only way that he'll get out of it is if he comes with evidence that somebody set him up", said a league executive, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Joel Embiid, the target of numerous personal attacks from the associated accounts, said he received word directly from Colangelo that he was not behind the keyboard when the messages were sent. He never tweeted from that account.

Colangelo has admitted to owning the one account that did not tweet anything.

Colangelo's denials raise suspicion, however, because those tweets align with some of the frustrations and beliefs inside the organization.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said ahead of Thursday night's Game 1 of the NBA Finals, via Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, that he was going to wait for all of the facts to come out.

Colangelo, a two-time past NBA Executive of the Year, has discussed with ownership and upper management the possibility that his wife, Barbara Bottini, may have been involved in the postings of the tweets from so-called burner accounts, league sources said.

If she was behind the burner accounts, then who gave her the information?

Colangelo is a two-time Executive of the Year Award victor and has served as a top executive in National Basketball Association front offices with three different teams - the Phoenix Suns, Raptors and 76ers. If you've got as much to say as Mr. and/or Mrs. Colangelo appear to, why stop at Twitter?

Some of the tweets took issue with Embiid's off-court behavior. "He called me just to deny the story".

League sources don't think Colangelo will keep his job even if it's proven that Bottini or another family was behind the burner accounts.

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