Sources: Sixers practice facility at Navy Yard a no-go

Posted: April 16, 2014

THERE ARE so many elements that need addressing for the 76ers to seriously start the rebuild they're currently in, with a new practice facility being at or near the top of the list.

But sources have told the Daily News that some employees have been told that the plan of building at the Navy Yard has been scratched, leaving management frantically searching for a place to build a state-of-the-art facility they can call their own.

Currently, the Sixers practice at the gym at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which doesn't provide the intimacy or the updated equipment that most other teams in the league already have.

"A practice facility is so important as far as luring in free agents," said a former player in the league. "If you're a gym rat, you want a place where you can go to the gym at all hours to work on your game, to hang out with teammates and coaches, and to have your privacy. I know for a fact that when you're a free agent and looking to sign with a team, the type of practice facility a team has is at the top of the wish list."

Though another source said the Navy Yard plans haven't been officially scratched yet, it is likely to happen. Several sites are being scouted and management would like to have "shovels in the ground soon," according to a source.

"We look forward to our own practice facility," said coach Brett Brown. "There is so much going on with practice facilities and how we attract people and how we keep people and how we develop people.

"I know from my job, the need to develop [a practice facility] is crucial. It's a huge part of an NBA program and we are being aggressive in being sure that happens within a realistic time frame. We are the last team in the NBA to have our own facility. That's a big part of the reason I was attracted to this program. The owners and [general manager Sam Hinkie] have been great knowing the importance of this next step to allowing us to better develop our players.

"The fact is we're a tenant [at PCOM]. I saw the daylight when I was in San Antonio when we were at Trinity College and then you had your own practice facility and you see people coming at all hours of the night, 24/7, 365 days of the year. Finger-scanned access. They come and they bring their families. People gather there. You have dinner and lunch with your own teammates and you can frequent it at any time that you want. It's a private and very sacred area. You have access to it any time that you want. You're not going to be bumping into students. You are going to know where you're going to park. It is never-ending, the benefits of having that. Along with our development work and our draft picks, it's an 'if you build it, they will come' thing, and we look forward to building it."

While Brown said "it is around the corner," it appears it may be a little longer than that right now.

While Brown was quick to point out how accommodating the people at PCOM have been, the offices and weight-room players' lounge are areas that are lacking.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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