HoopsHype Joshua Harris rumors

August 16, 2013 Updates
August 15, 2013 Updates

Sources close to the situation have indicated that Joshua Harris’ investment group is expected to finalize the purchase of the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center on Thursday. Sources also tell CSNPhilly.com that Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil will be installed as the Devils’ CEO and serve in that capacity, simultaneously, for both teams. Harris and his ownership group bought the Sixers in 2011 for a reported $287 million. According to Forbes, the Sixers are currently valued at $418 million. In January 2012, the Devils were reportedly worth $205 million, but owner Jeff Vanderbeek is believed to be $230 million in debt. By acquiring the Devils and the Prudential Center, Harris’ group will assume that debt. CSNPhilly.com

May 2, 2013 Updates

According to team sources, some of the players became frustrated with Collins' old school ways or, as one Sixer said, his "tendency to be overbearing." "Clearly we want the right cultural fit for our organization," is how majority owner Joshua Harris described what he called a "wide-ranging" search for a replacement. Philadelphia Inquirer

April 28, 2013 Updates

However, Harris, who briefly addressed this subject Saturday at an announcement that the Sixers were acquiring a new NBA D-League franchise (the Delaware 87ers), sounds wedded to his original position. "Obviously the sooner the better in terms that there are other teams that want coaches," Harris said. "Having said that it's a really important position, so the answer is it's not possible to put a time frame on it. "Clearly we are sequencing it quickly. We're not waiting around, but there is a lot of work to be done. It's just hard to put a time frame on it. Faster is better but only if you find the right person." Philadelphia Inquirer

April 18, 2013 Updates

Joshua Harris on Andrew Bynum: "There's no one scenario that is determinable right now." "Of course we're going to look at bringing Bynum back... a healthy Bynum playing is a needle-mover." "We're going to weigh the positives and negatives and try to make a reasoned assessment about Andrew." "I'm not saying we're going to bring [Bynum] back - I'm saying we aren't ruling it out." "We're very interested and open to Andrew coming back" in a way "that makes sense for us." Philadelphia Inquirer

November 1, 2012 Updates

The Sixers are getting close to hiring a director of analytics, according to the team's managing owner, Joshua Harris. "We are in final negotiations with a candidate," Harris said. "We think we are going to get something done there in the next month." Harris became convinced that that adding an "analytical mind" to the Sixers' personnel department was a good idea about midway through last season, his first as the team's managing owner. There was some thought that the Sixers would pursue a person with this type of background for the general manager's position. However, Harris opted to go with Tony DiLeo, a player personnel evaluator with a long history with the Sixers. "You have to understand that we have many tools in our toolbox," Harris said. "We want to give our front office every opportunity to be as competitive as possible and to use everything at their disposal to make this organization one of the finest, and analytics is a part of that. I look at it as a tool in our tool box that needs to be sharpened." Philadelphia Inquirer

October 31, 2012 Updates

Right on schedule. That's how Joshua Harris, 76ers managing owner, views the franchise he purchased in 2011 on the eve of the 2012-13 season. "When I purchased the team, I said that my goal was to bring a championship team to the city of Philadelphia," Harris said via phone Monday night. "We made some changes and some upgrades in the offseason, and I think we are on track to do that. Obviously this isn't going to happen overnight. But I like the direction we're headed." Philadelphia Inquirer

While some Sixers fans have expressed a belief that Bynum, still experiencing pain as a result of bone bruise in his right knee, might have been a bad acquisition - he has had surgery on both knees in the past - Harris said that knowing what he does about Bynum's knees, he would make the trade again. "He got the bone bruise, obviously, but in the scheme of things hopefully that will end up being a minor injury," Harris said. "We had some expectations that that is part of the package. But I would make the trade all over again. It is good having a superstar in Philly. It makes this a more attractive place for future players. The fact that he might miss some games at the start of the season, well, I think it would be better to miss games now than it is later in the season." Philadelphia Inquirer

September 19, 2012 Updates

By now, you’ve probably become somewhat aware of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s latest and perhaps greatest gaffe - a video at a fundraiser earlier this year at which he basically dismissed half the electorate. After explaining to potential campaign donors that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax, Romney said, ”My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” SheridanHoops

What you may not know was that fundraiser took place in May in Boca Raton, Fla., at the home of Marc Leder, a private equity manager who once served as senior vice president for Lehman Brothers. Leder is also one of 14 co-owners of the Philadelphia 76ers. He is part of the group headed by Joshua Harris, David Blitzer and Adam Aron which bought the team just under a year ago from Comcast-Spectacor for a reported $280 million. SheridanHoops

February 17, 2012 Updates

Sixers owner Josh Harris gave his state of the team address before tonight's Sixers-Dallas Mavericks game. As he should, Harris said everyting a Sixers' fan would want to hear. On what he thinks about what he's bought so far, from the team on the court to all the other things that owning a team involve: "Adam Aron and everyone have done a great job of delivering a much better experience for the fans and the fans are starting to show up. We’re 30 percent ahead of last year in terms of ticket sales and we’re doing that with lower prices. It’s accelerating, so that’s great. Philadelphia Inquirer

On whether he is a hands-on owner with coach Doug Collins and president Rod Thorn: "I’m a proactive guy, so I’m impatient, I want to win. But having said that I think we have a great basketball organization and a very experienced team. I am working through Rod and his team and the reality of it is now having talked to a lot of people there are no easy answers. You have to be opportunistic, you have to be on your toes. So we’re exploring all options. Having said that, being 20-10 and leading the Atlantic Division we’re not going to do anything that’s reactive. We’re going to be thoughtful about it. Everyone else is in a similar position. We appreciate the sentiment about needing a big guy in the middle and clearly that’s an obvious thing for us to do but those guys don’t grow on trees. It’s not necessarily as easy as some might think, picking up someone like that. Our eyes are open, we’re focused on it. If somebody becomes available we’re going to do what we need to do financially. So far we’re very comfortable with our team." Philadelphia Inquirer

On Doug Collins: "I think that Doug is as talented and passionate about basketball as anyone I’ve ever met. He brings vast knowledge, passion and he definitely gets a lot (from the players). Just being in the locker room and seeing the way the players react and play together as a team you almost get the feel that we have a college team where they’re enjoying themselves out there and that likes each other and wants to win. I don’t think you always get that feeling from a pro team." Philadelphia Inquirer

January 30, 2012 Updates

The Sixers say they are selling 4,000 tickets a day. They're up to 23rd in average attendance, at 14,614 per game, and if that doesn't sound impressive, they were 29th two weeks ago. The announced attendance Saturday against the lowly Pistons was 18,710, though it looked like there were a couple thousand fewer in the stands -- though 16,000 to see a bad Detroit team on a Saturday would still be pretty good. They had a walkup crowd at Wells Fargo of 2,600 on Jan. 10 -- a Tuesday -- to see the Kings, a development so stunning they had to scramble to find enough ticket sellers to handle the rush. Television ratings on Comcast SportsNet are up to an average 2.5 rating locally, up from a 1.6 average rating last season. And Aron has been the face of the work that has gone into saturating the local media, fan base, corporate crowd and anyone who'd listen that this is a team worth supporting. "He's the hardest working guy I've ever been around in my entire life," Collins said, and he knows from hard workers. NBA.com

Aron, 57, who went to Harvard, went the corporate route -- Hyatt, United Airlines (he helped the naming rights deal for United Center in Chicago), Norweigian Cruise Lines, Vail Resorts. He's helped run companies where the experience of what you did was more important than anything. You don't take pictures and videos of your workplace; you take pictures and videos of your vacations. So he knows fans don't just want to watch a basketball game; they want to be entertained. (If this sounds like Mark Cuban Philosophy, that crossed my mind, too.) "I think in Philadelphia, I don't think it's lack of interest," said Lara Price, the 76ers' longtime Senior VP of Business Operations. "You have to have that connection with them, and you have to have that interaction with them. And the thing I've noticed is that Adam has connected with them the way Pat did -- emotionally -- with them. And they feel like he's listening. And that's not to say we didn't listen before, because I've been with every ownership group. We listened ... but it's new. And combined with winning, it's kind of like lightning in a bottle." NBA.com

The basketball, of course, still matters. The Sixers have been dominant at home, playing an exciting, up-tempo style. Collins has insisted that the team play like one; on any given night, any of six or seven guys could be the leading scorer. They're fifth in the league in points per 100 possessions, at 105.3. They are tied with the Bulls for stingiest defense, allowing just under 87 points per game, and are tied for second in lowest field-goal percentage allowed, .418. They are first in the league in fewest points allowed per 100 possessions, at 92.3 per game. Jrue Holliday and Jodie Meeks are becoming an effective if unheralded backcourt; Andre Iguodala, playing his usual all-around game but averaging just 12.8 points per game, is nonetheless poised to make his first All-Star appearance if the team keeps winning at this rate. Such are the rewards for teams that do well. The fans have been appreciative. "I think they're more active in the games," Iguodala said. "If we get down, they stick with us a little bit. Whereas last year, you might have had some boos, even though we were still in the game. This year, even if we go through a spurt where we don't score, we might be down and the other team goes on an 8-0 run, they're still in there with us, which is a good thing. There's been a few times where we've made a big play, and they really, just like, erupted. And it gave us some momentum and we were able to finish out the games." NBA.com

January 29, 2012 Updates

Josh Harris, the new owner of the 76ers, is happy sitting center court at almost every home game. He has the best seat in the house, and why shouldn't he? He is a billionaire and, as he sees it, he made his fortune buying companies at just the right time - down-and-out outfits, in need of a fresh approach - just like he has done with the Sixers. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than smart. In the Sixers' case, nearly all the key ingredients to success were already in place - great coach, nucleus of solid young players. The lockout scared other potential buyers away. Harris got in, infused the franchise with energy, re-signed two key players, and, so far, the team is winning. "It's exceeded all expectations in terms of the fun I'm having," Harris said. "I've become an überfan. I haven't missed a minute of any game. I haven't gone to all the away games, but I've been to nearly all the home games, and I have a league pass, and I have whatever you need to see every game." Philadelphia Inquirer

Harris says he's falling back in love with Philadelphia, his college town, and promises to be the kind of owner fans will want him to be: committed to winning a championship. "Will we spend what it takes?" he said. "Yes. We're going to be very opportunistic. We're not going to be silly about it. We have a deep-pocketed ownership group, and we want to win. It's not as easy as you think. The elite players in the league can play wherever they want, and everyone wants them." He said the challenge is to build a "high-quality organization on and off the court," to create a team and environment that will attract elite players, similar to the way pitcher Cliff Lee chose to come to Philadelphia and play with the Phillies. Philadelphia Inquirer

Harris, 46, is cofounder of Apollo Global Management, an investment firm and buyout specialist in New York that manages more than $60 billion in assets. His personal worth is estimated by Forbes magazine to be about $1.45 billion. He agreed to talk about his purchase of the team at an interview at the Four Seasons, at the same breakfast table where he first kicked around the idea with Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, the former majority owner of the Sixers. He ordered a fruit plate - ate the berries, left the cantelope. Harris wrestled in high school and for part of his time at the University of Pennsylvania. "There was a lot of dieting involved, and I was wrestling at 118 pounds, and that was a long way to drop," Harris said. "It was definitely cutting into the college experience." Philadelphia Inquirer

Harris described his business this way: "What we try to do is we take money from institutional investors - teachers and firefighters and ordinary people's pension funds. It's simple: They give us a dollar and they want to get back more than two dollars over a five- and seven-year period. We're supposed to create long-term equity value for these pension funds, and that's what we do. We do that by buying good companies and facilitating value creation. "That can be in some cases growing the company. In some cases that can be making a good deal on the way in, buying a good company inexpensively, buy low and sell high. It can be improving the company's cost structure, making it more efficient, investing in it. There are plenty of ways to do it. But to create that kind of value, you have to change something." Philadelphia Inquirer

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