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Jerry Colangelo hired as 76ers' special advisor

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The longtime Phoenix Suns and Team USA executive will work with Sam Hinkie to help the 76ers' rebuilding project.

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In a major surprise, the Philadelphia 76ers have named Jerry Colangelo as their new chairman of basketball operations and special advisor, owner Josh Harris announced in a press conference.

Sam Hinkie will remain as the 76ers' president of basketball operations and general manager. Harris suggested that he, Hinkie and Colangelo will "collaborate to make great decisions." However, Hinkie will have "final say" on basketball matters, Colangelo said.

"Look, I think we're ready to go to the next phase here, and I think Jerry's contacts, his standing in USA Basketball and the Hall of Fame -- he knows every player, he knows a lot of people," Harris said in a press conference televised on NBATV. "His knowledge and everything else will be invaluable, but as will his ability to help us in that respect."

Colangelo will remain in Phoenix while in this position, he said.

Colangelo has been involved with basketball for five decades, mostly with the Phoenix Suns, where he served as an executive before becoming the team's owner. He sold the team to Robert Sarver in 2005 and remained in an advisory role for seven years. He has also served as the managing director and chairman of USA Basketball since 2005. Team USA is 75-1 over that span.

Colangelo said the opportunity presented itself very quickly.

Harris said the 76ers will not be changing their long-term rebuilding plan, though he did admit that he can be "impatient." The 76ers will "very likely" sign coach Brett Brown to a long-term contract extension, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Harris admitted the 76ers are in "deep conversations" about Brown's contract.

However, Colangelo should provide the 76ers instant credibility, particularly with agents who have threatened to steer their clients elsewhere if the 76ers come calling. Colangelo admitted this will be a big part of his job.

The 76ers have won just one game this season and are headed to their third straight finish near the bottom of the league. Harris admitted that he is "frustrated" by the team's struggles, but he will not deviate from his long-term rebuilding plan.