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Josh Harris: ‘The Sixers are staying in Philly’

Aug 15, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

Joshua Harris

If there was ever any doubt about 76ers owner Josh Harris’ commitment to keeping the 76ers in Philadelphia, he attempted to put that to rest on Thursday.

Harris’ ownership group has finalized a deal to purchase the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center in Newark (pending NHL approval). The unholy alliance was rumored for about a week or so, prompting all sorts of speculation from, “This is going to upset a lot of Philly fans,” to “He’s trying to take the Sixers to Jersey!”

General manager Sam Hinkie was adamant during new head coach Brett Borwn’s introductory press conference that Harris had no intention of moving the franchise , which backs up some of the whispers from behind the curtain. Harris finally had a chance to speak for himself once the deal was completed though, and he reiterated his commitment to keeping the 76ers in Philadelphia.

I suppose if you’re a conspiracy theorist, you’ll want to note the date when Harris was caught lying through his teeth. However, there really isn’t any evidence to support a move could be in the works.

The main reason there is a belief he could take the team to New Jersey is the building. The Sixers lease the Wells Fargo Center, which cuts into profits, whereas Harris now runs an arena. That doesn’t mean the move makes business sense though. While it may not always show, the Sixers have a loyal fan base, one I’m sure is just waiting to pack the house again once the club’s fortunes finally turn around. What, are the people of North Jersey clamoring for NBA basketball?

More to the point, a move probably is not possible, certainly not right now, very possibly never. The Sixers are said to be locked into a lease with the WFC that goes for upwards of 20 years, so that’s one hoop to jump through. Plus I seriously doubt the Association would even want another team in that region, especially after the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets had their say.

Short version, you can probably sleep easy knowing the Sixers aren’t going anywhere – not in the standings, not to another city.

Of course, there’s still the whole Philly vs. New Jersey dynamic to this story. The Flyers and Devils are bitter rivals, which I guess means Harris might have crossed some imaginary line here. We wonder, is anybody truly upset over this? It might be a bit different if the Sixers had an intense rivalry with a team from Northern Jersey, but since they don’t, I’m not sure whose feelings are being hurt here.

Regardless, the deal is done, Harris has crushed any and all speculation for the time being, so we should be able to put this story to bed once and for all – that is until the Devils hoist their next Stanley Cup.

On second thought, that might be a little irritating to watch.

  1. Jimbosloce - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Harris didn’t buy prudential center, assumed rest of years on lease. Now owns two teams and zero stadiums. Check your facts.

    • Andrew Kulp - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Just going off what others have reported, including the link to the news at the top. Those are the facts to the best of my knowledge.

      • theOG - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        Not to get into a pissing contest here, but the associated press does report that Harris bought the lease and not the entire building. Link here–owner-josh-harris-buys-new-jersey-devils

      • Andrew Kulp - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        Word. I’m not trying to get into a pissing contest, either. Obviously we want to be accurate, but in a case like this we can only go off the reports we have. When there’s a dispute over the facts, it helps to provide a link to a story rather than become indignant right away.

        Anyway, it doesn’t really change the relevant details. Harris owns the lease to the entire building, which means in theory he could make more money off of the Sixers by having them play in NJ as opposed to paying to keep them in Philly.

      • theOG - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Totally agree. It’s a minor detail really since, as you said it, it has really no impact on the story. Either way, nice write up and keep on keepin’ on.

      • Kensington Wake Up - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        “Obviously we want to be accurate, but in a case like this we can only go off the reports we have.”

        I suppose the Associated Press’ report wasn’t accessible to you…on the internet.

      • Andrew Kulp - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        You’re right, I should have read every single report from every possible credible source before commenting.

  2. Pete D - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    I’d say the Sixers move is a non-story because it shouldn’t even be considered possible- but I guess it speaks to the moribund state of the franchise that folks feel the need to report it.

    Do we have any other examples where ownership is shared between two fanbases that hate eachother? I’ve tried to think of one and I can’t, all the multiple-team owners are in the same city or non-rival cities.

  3. Abe Lincoln - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    This is the same guy that promised the fan base a mascot during his first week of ownership. 2 years later, we have no mascot and a team whose Public Relations department can’t get their heads out of their asses. Transparency isn’t in this owner’s lexicon. Harris made his money on Wall St.; When you work there you’re not exactly adverse to lying. Just saying.

  4. thekrisheim - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    why is this a story???? i dont get it. but sadly, you know this drives ed snider fucking crazy.

  5. Mike - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    I don’t see Stern or the NBA wanting 3 teams in the NY market and abandoning Philly for Seattle was just idiotic conjecture. Also, I don’t see the big deal about owning the Devils and Sixers, there is almost zero crossover with Sixer and Flyer fanbases. Harris is a a business person and probably sees value in buying relatively low.


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