Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo resigned, effective immediately, after his wife admitted operating Twitter accounts which criticized team members and propped up Colangelo, the team announced Thursday.
Sixers coach Brett Brown will oversee basketball operations on an interim basis.
Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, admitted to establishing and operating the accounts, and an investigation by law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP found forensic evidence to collaborate her admissions.
“Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization,” according to the law firm, which was commissioned by the team to investigate the matter.
The move comes after a story by The Ringer brought to light the possibility that Colangelo had posted tweets from so-called burner accounts that were used to criticize current and former 76ers players.
Colangelo, a two-time NBA Executive of the Year, had 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.
Some of the tweets took issue with star center Joel Embiid‘s off-court behavior. Others claimed former center Nerlens Noel was a problem in the locker room and that Jahlil Okafor‘s injury issues may have scuttled a trade to the Pelicans.
The tweets included defenses of Colangelo’s job performance and disparaging comments about his predecessor with the Sixers, Sam Hinkie, and his successor as president of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri. Other tweets alluded to sensitive information about events leading to Markelle Fultz‘s bizarre, season-long shooting problems.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver responded to the turmoil surrounding Colangelo and the Sixers at his annual NBA Finals news conference on May 31, cautioning against a rush to judgment on the controversy.
“The notion here was, let’s find out what’s going on,” Silver said. “You have to separate sort of the chatter and sort of what either fans or, frankly, the media are saying from the facts. And the first thing we have to do here is determine what the actual facts are in this circumstance.”
Information from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe was used in this report.