Friday, August 22, 2014
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Sixers owner Josh Harris gives his thoughts on state of team

Sixers majority owner Josh Harris spoke with the media before the team's last home game before the All-Star break.

Sixers owner Josh Harris gives his thoughts on state of team

"We’re 30 percent ahead of last year in terms of ticket sales," Sixers owner Josh Harris said. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)
"We’re 30 percent ahead of last year in terms of ticket sales," Sixers owner Josh Harris said. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

Sixers owner Josh Harris gave his state of the team address before Friday's Sixers-Dallas Mavericks game. As he should, Harris said everything 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.

On the court, the team’s 20-10 and playing very well and in essence ahead of what everyone expected. Clearly this last stretch has been a little tougher, we’ve been on the road, we’ve played some better teams, but even so playing above .500 ball even during the last stretch. Spencer’s (Hawes) injury and some of the injuries have slowed us down a little bit but I feel like we have a great young team and a great coach. I think really given where we started the season I’m very, very happy at the midpoint and feel we have a real shot at being a contender deep into the season and as we go into the playoffs."

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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."

On whether using an Amnesty Clause on a player (and the possibility of having to pay a $15-18 million buyout) is something they would do:

"For the right person, yes. But a very high block. Those are the kinds of things that if you do it and you do it wrong it puts you way back. You’ve got to be very careful but if it was a game-changer we would consider that. It’s not something we’re afraid of. We’re a deep-pocketed, committed ownership group. But we’re going to be sensible about it. We’re not going to do that for anyone. It would have to be for someone really good."

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."

More to come...

Bob Cooney
About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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