NBA's Colangelo buys into NBL's Hawks

The former general manager of Ben Simmons' Philadelphia 76ers will assume an advisory role and assist in governance and strategy of the NBL's Illawarra Hawks.

BEN SIMMONS #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers.
BEN SIMMONS #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former NBA executive Bryan Colangelo has purchased a stake in the NBL's Illawarra Hawks, who will now be known simply as the Hawks in an attempt to extend their brand beyond regional NSW.

Colangelo, the ex-Philadelphia 76ers general manager and two-time NBA executive of the year, was revealed on Wednesday as the new, high-profile brains behind the NBL's only remaining foundation club.

He will assume an advisory role and assist in governance and strategy of the Hawks, who originally appeared set to be purchased by one-time recruit and potential NBA No.1 draft pick LaMelo Ball.

Instead the NBL has handed the reins to Colangelo and business partners Dorry Kordahi and Michael Proctor.

Colangelo - who was heavily involved in the 76ers selecting Ben Simmons the top pick in the 2016 NBA draft - departed the Philadelphia team two years later after a social-media controversy.

It was discovered Colangelo's wife, Barbara, had operated multiple Twitter accounts and shared private information and opinions on the Sixers and team rivals.

Colangelo has previously been general manager of the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors, and recently interviewed for the Chicago Bulls' vice-president role.

Kordahi is an Australian entrepreneur and former co-owner of the Sydney Kings, while American businessman Proctor has strong high school and college basketball connections in the United States.

Colangelo said the NBL's Next Stars program - responsible for luring Ball away from the United States before his NBA start next year - had piqued his interest.

"LaMelo Ball, among others, serves as a great example of just how influential the NBL has become on a global basis," he said.

"We are thrilled to be selected as new partners with the league and pledge to outperform the expectations placed on us and deliver for Hawks fans."

NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said the club's "primary base" would remain Wollongong, ramping up pressure on Venues NSW to upgrade their outdated WIN Entertainment Centre home court.

But on the league's instruction, the syndicate has stripped Illawarra from the club's title and will now be known simply as the Hawks in an attempt to expand their footprint.

Poor crowds and the constant threat of bankruptcy has plagued the club, with the new ownership eyeing the opportunity to take some home games to other cities, including Canberra.

The NBL rejected a Ball-led bid to buy the Hawks in March, before the club was placed in voluntary administration.

NBL owner Larry Kestelman said Colangelo's syndicate remained open to any further investors.

He reserved special thanks to Ball and his management team for showing interest, but noted that the trio announced on Wednesday were the "best credentialed to deliver long-term success".