Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge could lose a valuable piece of his front office staff to the Philadelphia 76ers this summer, according to a report from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

With veteran executive Bryan Colangelo freshly resigned from his Philly post as president of basketball operations and general manager following a series of burner accounts that were linked back to his wife, the Sixers’ quest for a new general manager has begun with Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren reported as a ‘top candidate.’

Zarren, a member of the Boston braintrust for a decade after starting out as an unpaid intern, previously interviewed for this exact job in 2013. But Zarren ultimately turned them down to stay with the Celtics through their rebuild. That, of course, led to Sam Hinkie’s hiring and the start of what is known as ‘The Process’ that got the Sixers back on the NBA map.

In Boston, Zarren has been on the forefront of the C’s analytics department, and has been Ainge’s go-to for all things in relation to the salary cap. His role was especially vital to the Green’s 2017 offseason, which saw them trim their roster, cut salaries, and make the trades needed across the board to successfully sign Gordon Hayward to a max contract.

Zarren was also the apparent architect behind the trade that saw Boston rob the Sixers and draft Jayson Tatum last summer.

“I’ve been talking to Mike Zarren about this Lakers pick for about a year and a half it seems. We’ve been talking about various things that related to the draft last year, that related to the draft this year,” Colangelo, the GM of the Sixers from Apr. 2016 to last week, said last year. “Once Boston got No. 1, immediately there was a discussion that talked about some of the interest we had in No. 1. That conversation led to further dialogue and it’s been consistent since the Draft Lottery. We came to a conclusion it was the right situation and the right point in the deal progression to make a deal, and we did.”

But Zarren’s apparent interest from the Sixers comes before the start of what could be the most important offseason in the franchise’s history, with LeBron James expected to be on the market and legitimately interested in the Sixers. Philadelphia has a leg-up on the rest of the competition, too, as they possess both the cap space and capable roster the 33-year-old James wants.

In addition to the Celtics’ Zarren, O’Connor writes that other candidates for the Philly job include ex-Cavaliers general manager David Griffin (a player with a detailed history with James), as well as internal options such as Marc Eversley (the Sixers’ vice president of player personnel) and Ned Cohen, (their associate VP and chief of staff).