CHICAGO -- Jerry Colangelo was at home in Phoenix to get ready for a speaking engagement when his phone lit up with an email. A 13-page letter to be exact. Once he began reading it to his wife, the content of the message was not what he expected on a random weeknight during the season.
"I saw resignation. That came out of the blue. Totally out of the blue," Colangelo said Wednesday at the United Center before the Sixers' finale against the Bulls.
When the Sixers hired Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations and special advisor in December, it was clear the organization wanted to make changes to "The Process," which yielded a 1-30 start to this season. The goal was to enhance the front office and bring in additional personnel with the backgrounds and skillsets best suited to move the team forward this season and during a critical summer with the draft and free agency.
The team began seeking out candidates, which included Colangelo's son Bryan. Colangelo removed himself from the hiring process and ownership made the final decision (see story). Hinkie resigned from his positions and Bryan Colangelo was appointed president of basketball operations.
"No one ever, ever had an intention of Sam being let go, fired, or anything," Jerry Colangelo said. "That was never a consideration. Everyone was on the same page, including myself, which was this was more about bringing help into the organization. Share responsibilities and we'd be a stronger front office."
Colangelo recognized strengths Hinkie brought to the Sixers. He praised his knowledge of analytics and noted, "His intelligence is off the charts."
There is a relationship-building and maintaining part of the job as well. To that point, Colangelo said he had encouraged Hinkie to listen more to ownership.
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Colangelo believed that if everyone was in agreement, the front office could be bolstered. He thought there would be an addition to the staff, not a subtraction of this magnitude.
"They tried to retain Sam," he said. "I kept saying to Sam, 'This would be great if you're willing to let someone come in here and share.' We'd be stronger than heck. Our front office could be out of sight, I thought. But Sam made his own decision and I respect that. I respect the fact he said I can't do that."