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76ers Co-Owners Reportedly Looking to Sell Franchise: Latest Comments, Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2015

Philadelphia 76ers co-Managing Owner Josh Harris holds a news conference to announce that Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member and Chairman of the Board of Directors for USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo will be joining the Philadelphia 76ers as the Special Advisor to the Managing General Partner and Chairman of Basketball Operations prior to the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers have been mired in turmoil all season, and the team's ownership group, led by billionaires Josh Harris and David Blitzer, reportedly has interest in eventually selling the franchise.   

According to Forbes' Mitch Lawrence, Harris and Blitzer—who own the NHL's New Jersey Devils and are heavily invested in English Premier League side Crystal Palace—have their sights set on selling the Sixers and bringing an NFL expansion team to London. 

"They're more interested in getting the NFL in London than they are in the NBA," a source said, per Lawrence. "Their No. 1 goal is to get the NFL team in London. They want to flip the Sixers anyway."

However, Harris told reporters in October he wasn't interested in selling his stake in the Sixers, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey: "I expect to be, and the ownership group expects to be, happily involved with the Philadelphia 76ers for many, many years to come."

Sixers public relations director Michael Preston relayed the organization's official response to Lawrence's report: 

Michael Preston @preston76

Owner Josh Harris has no intention of selling #Sixers; reports indicating that as an option or placing an NFL team in London are inaccurate.

While no time frame was provided regarding a potential sale of the Sixers, Harris and Blitzer's historic operating procedures lend credence to the report.

When Harris and Blitzer purchased the Devils in 2013, NJ Advance Media's Steve Politi noted the duo has made a living investing in sputtering businesses, building them back up and then selling them for a profit. 

The two purchased the Sixers from Comcast-Spectacor in 2011 for $270 million, per Forbes, and the value of the franchise has only skyrocketed since. 

At present, the Sixers—who own the NBA's worst record—are valued at approximately $700 million, according to Forbes

Based on the influx of money the NBA has seen over the past few years, thanks to new local and national television deals, monetary arrows should continue pointing up for franchises across the Association.

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