Sixers president answers questions from potential owners

Purdue big man JaJuan Johnson speaks to reporters after a predraft workout for the 76ers. The NBA draft is Thursday.
Purdue big man JaJuan Johnson speaks to reporters after a predraft workout for the 76ers. The NBA draft is Thursday. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 22, 2011

Rod Thorn, president of the 76ers, said he has had several conversations with the team's potential new ownership group, led by New York billionaire Josh Harris.

Although the deal is not yet official - Thorn repeatedly said "if and when" the deal is completed - the franchise's basketball side has offered its insight to Harris and company.

About two weeks ago, ESPN.com broke the news that Comcast-Spectacor is in serious discussions to sell the team to a group of investors led by Harris. The deal includes Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider's selling 90 percent of the franchise for about $280 million.

Sources have confirmed that the sale, while still on track toward completion, has kinks to be ironed out because of the deal's magnitude.

"They have questions about how we do things, why we do things, what we think of our personnel, what we think we need, those type of information-type questions," Thorn said of the conversations he's had with "various members of the potential new group."

The investor group includes private equity investor David Blitzer and Jason Levien, a former NBA agent and Sacramento Kings executive.

Although some have asserted that the Sixers won't pull the trigger on a major move, specifically trading Andre Iguodala, until the ownership change is completed, Thorn said it's "business as usual."

"I'm sure if and when the sale is completed, that if there is a new ownership, every owner is different as to how they deal with their 'basketball people,' " Thorn said. "So we'll have to see how that goes if and when it finally happens. Right now we're operating the way we normally do."

Thorn said that his exchanges with the potential new owners mostly have involved answering questions rather than asking questions of the investor group.

"At this point, that's not being divulged as to exactly how they stand or how they will operate, because until they actually take over, there isn't a lot to do about that or say about that," Thorn said. "It's just a fact-finding type of mission where they want to see how we think about things, and they haven't really unveiled any plans that they might have."

Draft day. On Tuesday, the Sixers held what is expected to be their final predraft workout. The team worked out two prospects - Purdue's JaJuan Johnson and France's Guy-Marc Michele, both big men - in advance of Thursday's 2011 NBA draft.

The Sixers hold the No. 16 and No. 50 picks. Thorn said that although it's likely the team will draft an interior player, it's not certain.

"We feel that we can get a player at 16 that can help us, hopefully play in a rotation," Thorn said. "I'm not saying next year, but hopefully will be a rotation player for us. . . . We think we'll have two or three guys that will get to us that will be good players."

Trade talk. Thorn wouldn't rule out a draft-day trade but said any deal would need to involve acquiring a current NBA player and not just trading away talent for a higher draft pick. Thorn said that he is having conversations about Iguodala and other players on the roster but that no trades are imminent.

Snyder update. Sixers assistant coach Quin Snyder recently flew to Los Angeles to interview for a position on the staff of new Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown.

Snyder, formerly the head coach at the University of Missouri, just completed his first season on Doug Collins' staff. Although Thorn wasn't certain that Snyder was leaving the Sixers, Snyder seemed to be leaning in that direction.

"He did a really good job for us. . . . We wish him well," Thorn said.


For video and full transcript of Rod Thorn's interview, go to www.philly.com/

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Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DeepSixer3, and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com

 

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