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NBA AM: 76ers Get Sold, What’s Next?
Posted By Steve Kyler On July 14, 2011 @ 8:02 am In All,NBA | No Comments
We Have A Deal: Ed Snider and his Comcast-Spectacor partners have agreed to sell the Philadelphia 76ers to a group of investors led by billionaire investor Joshua Harris, David Blitzer and former Kings’ executive Jason Levien.
The deal is expected to clock in at $280 million with Snider and Comcast-Spectacor retaining a 10% stake in the team in a non-voting capacity.
The deal will not include the Wells Fargo Center where the 76ers play nor will it include a stake in the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. The team is committed contractually to the Wells Fargo Center for the foreseeable future so they will continue to play their games there. The team also has a TV contract with Comcast through 2029, so basically nothing material in the arrangement will change other than who is footing the bills and calling the shots.
The deal must still be approved by the NBA Board of Governors, which is expected to happen during the next Board of Governors meeting in August.
Sources familiar with the transaction say that there are no immediate plans for changes within the basketball operations side of things, although current Sixers’ GM Ed Stefanski’s deal is up soon, and it’s unlikely he’ll be retained after his deal expires this year. Current team president Rod Thorn is said to have a lengthy deal, so much so that he may be retained in the short term as new ownership starts to evaluate what is working and what is not.
There are no plans to make changes to the coaching staff, and sources close to the situation say new ownership has met personally with most of the key organizational members and will be spending a lot of time understanding who and what are in place already.
It would be naive to believe nothing will change, because sources near the situation say Jason Levien, who is a cash investor in the deal, will likely carry the title of Team President and CEO and likely run the day to day of the team.
Joshua Harris who will be the majority owner of the team attended the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia and has family in the Philadelphia area will likely carry the title of Team Chairman.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to be affiliated with this storied franchise,” Harris said in a press release by the 76ers. “As a basketball fan who attended college in Philadelphia, and with family roots here, I have always felt a strong connection to this City and the 76ers. We look forward to helping the 76ers organization build on this past season’s accomplishments in the years ahead. The ownership group also looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Comcast-Spectacor.”
Nothing material is expected to change in Philadelphia in the short-term, but you can bet that the way business has been conducted is going to change and change fairly quickly.
J-Rich Keeping His Options Open: Jason Richardson had a chance to sign a contract extension with the Orlando Magic. It would have been a small term deal that would have kept him in Central Florida for maybe two more years. Richardson was looking for more security than that and ultimately opted not to take Orlando’s offer making him an unrestricted free agent once the NBA’s lockout is lifted.
Richardson, who hosts a charity golf tournament every off-season in Saginaw, says his next deal will be more about positioning himself for a championship and picking a spot that makes sense for his family.
“I want to go to a great place for my family,” Richardson said to Hugh Bernreuter of The Saginaw News. “I’ve been blessed by God to play in the NBA for a lot of money. I’d like to go someplace that has a chance to win a championship.”
Richardson was part of a major trade last December that landed him in Orlando; a destination he hoped would lead to a championship.
“That didn’t surprise me,” Richardson said. ‘With the lockout coming, there was talk about Phoenix getting rid of the higher salaries.
“Every place I’ve played has been special to me in some way. In Golden State, it was my first team and the fans were incredible to me. Charlotte was a new team and it was exciting to be part of that. In Phoenix, we made a long run in the playoffs and surprised a lot of people. Orlando was great too, getting reunited with Gilbert Arenas.”
Richardson talked at length with the Orlando Magic about a contract extension, but ultimately did not take a deal making him an unrestricted free agent once the lockout is lifted, a designation that gives Jason a lot of freedom to choose his next destination.
“I probably have five or six seasons left in the NBA, so I want to go somewhere I can stay,” Richardson said. “Trades are part of the NBA, but I’d like to finish off my career in one place with a chance to win a championship.”
Richardson was asked about the possibilities of playing for an International team, something he says likely isn’t an option.
“I don’t have a job,” Richardson said. “I’ve taken care of my money and it won’t be a problem for me financially. I would guess that it won’t be a problem for 85 to 90 percent of the players. But you’re seeing some players going overseas for a lot less money. They just want to play.”
Sources near Richardson have said J-Rich has not ruled out returning to the Magic, however he is looking for a longer term offer. If the NBA Owners get their way in the next labor deal, a four-year deal is the most he could command and it seems he’s more interested in long term security than remaining with the Magic.
Richardson ended the season having shot 39.5% from NBA three, and was second in the league in three pointers attempted.
Richardson’s name has been linked to the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks both claim to be looking for shooters and historically Richardson has been one of the best in the league from deep, so it’s unlikely he is unemployed for long once the lockout is lifted.
Frank and Woodson: According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Detroit Pistons do not seem any closer to naming a head coach, however it does seem that through some attrition – other candidates taking other jobs – the Pistons are down to basically two real candidates: Former Hawks’ coach Mike Woodson and current Celtics’ assistant coach Lawrence Frank.
Woodson has long been considered the front runner for the job, mainly because the organizational history Woodson has having been part of Larry Browns’ staff in 2004. Woodson was coveted by the Pistons before they hired Michael Curry, when it was believed Woodson would be fired in Atlanta. Ultimately he reconciled and keep his job in Atlanta.
Pistons president Joe Dumars is said to favor Woodson as his top choice, however new owner Tom Gores and his advisor Dave Checketts are taking a more measured approach and are said to be very high on Lawrence Frank.
The Pistons have been fairly clear that they were only looking at candidates with substantial head coaching experience which took Bill Laimbeer and Patrick Ewing off the list; however sources say both could be offered an associate head coaching spot on either coach’s staff.
The Pistons do not seem to be in any rush to name a head coach, however it does seem that it’s down to Mike Woodson and Lawrence Frank almost exclusively, and sources near the situation continue to say there does not appear to be a clear cut favorite to get the job.
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