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Daryl Bell: Sixers should turn to Philly native

June 5, 2018

The Philadelphia 76ers are once again the butt of jokes around the National Basketball Association.

On May 29, citing anonymous sources, The Ringer published an investigation online alleging that Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo used as many as five different secret Twitter accounts to disparage his predecessor, Sam Hinkie, and 76ers players. The Ringer, an online media outlet, said All-Star center Joel Embiid was tweeted about along with former center Jahlil Okafor, now with the Brooklyn Nets.

Colangelo denied the report and the Sixers quickly said they were conducting a private investigation. Of late, reported stories have linked some of the Twitter accounts to Colangelo’s wife, Barbara.

None of this pleases NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who addressed the issue prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There have been so many low-lights for the Sixers. The tanking seasons. The questionable draft picks. The losing. But following a 52-win season and an appearance in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, and the hopes of luring an All-Star free agent to the City of Brotherly Love, the Sixers appeared to be on a course toward respect.

Then this.

Surprisingly, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has the Sixers tied with the Houston Rockets at 7-2 to win the 2019 NBA title. The Warriors, who hold a 2-0 advantage over the Cavaliers in the finals, are listed as the favorites to repeat.

The 2018 NBA Draft is June 21 and the Sixers have the 10th pick. It’s an important draft and this Colangelo situation needs to become history.

An answer for the Sixers could be the purging of Colangelo and giving a Philadelphia native with championship experience an opportunity.

Malik Rose, a former Overbrook High and Drexel University standout, should be the person. Rose, who won two championships with the San Antonio Spurs during a 13-year NBA career, is currently the general manager of the Erie BayHawks, the Atlanta Hawks’ G-League affiliate. He was recently named the G-League’s Basketball Executive of the Year.

Many will recall Rose being a color analyst for the Sixers for a few years. He did a very creditable job of providing unbiased commentary.

At 43, Rose is young. He knows talent. He’s got a history with Sixers head coach Brett Brown that dates back to when they were both with the Spurs. He’s bright and he’d make a difference.

Now there are some who believe 45-year-old David Griffin, the former vice president of basketball operations for the Cavaliers, would be a logical choice. With LeBron James expected to enter the free agent pool, there’s a feeling Griffin could make the Sixers attractive to arguably the greatest basketball player on the planet. He was able to lure James back to Cleveland after a four-year stint in Miami.

The Sixers are young and exciting and with a young, exciting president of basketball operations, there’s no limit to how good this team could become. The Process could become The Championship and nothing would be sweeter than to have another Philadelphia product leading the way. Back in 1967, another Overbrook alum, Wilt Chamberlain, guided the Sixers to their first NBA championship.

It could happen again, and the Sixers would be smelling like a rose. Literally.