OAKLAND, Calif. — Among the many surprises so far in the slow crawl that is the NBA Finals, along with the close score in Game 1, the overturned late foul, the J.R. Smith brain fart (OK, maybe not a surprise), is the lack of resolution in something happening very far away and which yet many here are still talking about.
Bryan Colangelo, the one-time NBA executive of the year with the Toronto Raptors, remains the president and GM of the Philadelphia 76ers, despite it seeming for several days now like his dismissal was imminent.
Colangelo, if you have just awoken from a coma, has been in a world of trouble since late Tuesday, when the sports-culture web site The Ringer posted a long investigation that suggestion the Sixers boss had five “burner” Twitter accounts that were used to defend his work and fashion choices, disparage his players and rival executives, and occasionally disclose sensitive Sixers information about strategy and injuries.
In the days since, the Sixers have launched an independent investigation, hiring a New York law firm to carry it out, various internet sleuths pieced together information that suggest it could be Colangelo’s wife who was running most of the accounts, and ESPN has reported that his job is in jeopardy if the tweeter in question proves to be either him or someone close to him.
It’s a fascinating and unprecedented story, although it is odd that it still carries on. Does it really require the services of a law firm to determine who has been operating these accounts? Only if it no one in Colangelo’s circle has been involved and this operation has in fact been an extraordinary setup, which at this point seems a highly unlikely scenario. The most damning evidence in the original Ringer piece remains that shortly after the writer called the 76ers to ask about Colangelo’s possible involvement with just two of the accounts, the other three were switched to private settings.
If Colangelo was running them, he would have naturally changed the settings as soon as he learned someone was asking about his Twitter habits. And if he wasn’t, it’s likely he told family members immediately that someone was accusing him of recklessly operating anonymous accounts. If someone in that circle was the tweeter, then they would have naturally shut everything down immediately.
Neither scenario is survivable. Many team executives no doubt tell spouses and grown children things in confidence, as do lawyers, police, politicians, and any number of people with access to information that is not in the public domain. And if this is just a case of Colangelo’s wife defending his honour to a bunch of Sixers fans under what she assumed was perfect anonymity, and unbeknownst to him, then it’s the most modern of NBA scandals.
And unless Colangelo can prove that the thoughts posted in those tweets didn’t originate with him at some point, there’s no way he can remain in Philadelphia. You don’t get a do-over on ripping your stars or on disclosing failed physicals. Even if you never imagined that those sentiments were being broadcasted on your behalf.
LeBron James, asked on Saturday about whether he has seen any of the internet memes floating around in the days since the bizarre end to Game 1, gave some wise counsel on social media in this era.
“If you’re a celebrity, you realize it’s actually really bad for you if you pay attention to it. Like, if you really pay attention, there are people out there that really try to tear you down.” He said they don’t know you and you don’t know them, so it shouldn’t matter. “But if I have some words of advice, if you’re a part of it and it bothers you, then you probably should just delete it off your phone.” Wise advice for celebrities, and those close to them.
James, recovering from a mild injury suffered on Thursday when Draymond Green poked him in the eye, said it continues to improve.
“Well, I’m taking my medication that I’ve been given by the doctors. My eye drops and my antibiotic to help me with the recovery as fast as possible,” he said. “But it’s an eye. I mean, it’s going to recover as fast as it can on its own. There is nothing you can do. I can’t ice it or anything like that, or if I get more sleep or whatever the case may be.”
In other injury news, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Andre Iguodala is improving every day, but that he remains doubtful for Game 2 with a leg injury. Asked if he’s concerned that Iguodala, who has now missed five straight games, will not make it back for the Finals at all, Kerr said it was s simply a day-by-day thing.
Perhaps, someday, J.R. Smith will officially confess that he did not know the score when he grabbed a rebound in a tie game and then dribbled out the clock. That day was not Saturday. While he initially said after Game 1 that he knew the score was tied, contracting what his coach had just said moments earlier, Smith is now rather more equivocal. Asked about a replay that appeared to show him saying “I thought we were ahead,” to James, Smith said: “I might have said that. I’m not sure, but I might have.” Asked if could now say, upon reflection, that he wasn’t sure was the score was, Smith replied: “After thinking about it a lot the last 24 hours or however many since the game was over, I can’t say I was sure of anything at that point. So, no.”
The mystery continues.
• Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @scott_stinson