76ers Owner Harris Acknowledges Team Is In Rebuilding Phase Following New Hires
76ers Majority Owner Josh Harris' plan "had always been to implode the organization he took over before the 2011-12 season," and Harris yesterday "openly admitted that the rebuild is in place," according to Bob Cooney of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. Harris said, "I always had a vision for the use of advanced analytics, the use of sports science, health, nutrition, and I always had a vision for really creating excellence on and off the court. When I first bought the team, there were elements of the decision-making that I noticed weren't how I would have done it. But at the same time we did so well that first season that I chose to stick with the plan. The second season was a big disappointment and that made me feel empowered that it was the right time to make a bunch of changes." Harris added, "Obviously our coach (Brett Brown) and our GM (Sam Hinkie), our CEO (Scott O'Neil), they're all new. I think that we're really putting the pieces in place to build a strong foundation for a consistently winning, competitive, championship team. ... I'm not a patient person by nature. I want immediate results and immediate upsides. But I think the reality of professional sports is that things don't change overnight. There are 29 other owners and everyone wants to win and everyone is smart and everyone is resourced, so it's all about getting an edge." Cooney notes Harris' recent acquisition of the Devils "didn't sit well with many Philadelphia fans." Harris "knows this and says he wants Sixers fans to know that his passion and plan for his basketball team hasn't changed" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/30).
THE LONG VIEW: In Philadelphia, Keith Pompey wrote, "We all know the 76ers have no intention of producing a winning product this season." The 76ers "couldn't come close to contending for an NBA title even if they tried." Some will argue the 76ers are "making a mockery of the game by overhauling their roster with young and inexperienced players to get higher draft picks" in '14. Pompey: "Tanking doesn't always work. Nor do free-agent signings, trades, or draft picks. But at least the Sixers have a plan." If it works, they will "grow into an Eastern Conference contender while an already-ancient Brooklyn squad rebuilds and Miami grows old or breaks up" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/29).
BROTHERLY FUNDS: In Philadelphia, Joseph DiStefano wrote under the header, "Can Sixers Owner Fix Philly's Pension Mess?" The people who "cut the checks at Philadelphia's city pension system are turning over Wall Street's sofa cushions and poking around for spare change." Harris' Apollo Global Management since May 31 has been "pumping $50 million in city pension dollars, through the new Apollo Franklin Investment Fund L.P., to buy 'stressed' corporate loans, short-term financing, junk-rated debt, and other high-interest lending acts." DiStefano: "Let's hope Philadelphia's new investments play better than Harris' weak Sixers." The city's finances "can't afford a rebuilding year" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/29).