76ers

Sixers managing partners' offer for Mets suggests team might be available for cheap

Sixers managing partners' offer for Mets suggests team might be available for cheap

Sixers managing partner Josh Harris and co-managing partner David Blitzer have been seriously looking at purchasing the New York Mets, and it seems an offer is on the table.

Harris and Blitzer have made an offer to the Wilpon family, who are aiming to sell the team by the end of 2020, according the New York Post.

Here's what that offer looks like, per the Post:

The Post has learned that potential buyers Josh Harris and David Blitzer are offering $1.4 billion for the cash-hemorrhaging baseball club without the team’s revenue-generating TV network SNY.

Considering the Wilpons pulled out of an almost identical deal with hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen that would have made them $2.6 billion in February, the team appears to be on the market at a coronavirus discount.

Harris and Blitzer, who also own the NHL's New Jersey Devils, were first rumored to be interested in the Mets earlier this month, but are not the team's only suitors. Among the more intriguing names reportedly interested in the Mets: Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez.

Forbes valued the Mets at roughly $2.4 billion this past April, the sixth-highest valuation among all Major League Baseball teams and a 4 percent increase from 2019, so that offer from Harris and Blitzer certainly would be a steep discount from (perceived) market value.

The Phillies ranked eighth on Forbes' valuation list at $2 billion, with the Nationals (10th, $1.9 billion), Braves (12th, $1.8 billion), and Marlins (30th, $980 million) rounding out the NL East.

When Fred Wilpon bought sole ownership of the Mets in 2002, the transaction valued the team at $391 million.

This, of course, would be just the latest sports team acquired by Harris and Blitzer.

The duo purchased the Sixers for roughly $280 million in 2011, and the team is now valued at roughly $2 billion by Forbes. They then purchased the Devils in 2013 for roughly $320 million, and the team is currently valued at $550 million by Forbes.

More recently, the duo purchased a minority stake in the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, a transaction in the neighborhood of $140 million, according to Bloomberg.

Buying sports teams: what an idea.

Harris, the co-founder and senior managing director of Apollo Global Management, has a real-time net worth of $4.9 billion, according to Forbes . He received pushback in March for a plan to institute salary reductions of up to 20 percent for full-time, salaried Sixers employees making at least $50,000, then reversed course and apologized.

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NBA Rumors: Buddy Hield's comments should have Sixers fans intrigued

NBA Rumors: Buddy Hield's comments should have Sixers fans intrigued

The Sixers haven't even started the playoffs, but a potential offseason storyline is already bubbling up.

Kings guard Buddy Hield has been long tied to the Sixers as a potential trade target, from insider chatter to fan speculation, to his accidental (?) fueling of those rumors when he liked an Instagram post earlier this year with a hypothetical trade moving him to Philly.

So when the Kings' season ended Thursday, and Hield was asked if he's comfortable with his role off the bench in Sacramento heading into next season, his answer raised some eyebrows.

Including, I'd imagine, some in Philadelphia.

Here's what Hield had to say:

[Hield] provided a series of short answers during a Zoom session with reporters and offered a cryptic response when asked if he could be content with his role going into next season.

"Y'all know me," Hield said. "Y'all know how I talk. Y'all know how I feel. Y'all can read me well, so I'll let y'all answer that yourselves."

Pretty spicy. That doesn't sound like someone who wants to stay where he is!

Hield signed a four-year extension with Sacramento last October, but the Kings regressed in their first year under head coach Luke Walton, and The Athletic reported in February that Hield, unhappy with his role, might be eyeing a move elsewhere.

It doesn't sound like Hield's concerns about his role have changed much since then. If he's unhappy, he could theoretically ask for a trade - or Sacramento could pre-emptively try to get something for the still-young shooter.

I examined the potential fit back in April, including the hypothetical Hield-for-Horford deal from that fateful Instagram post:

In terms of contract length and salary hit, the Hield and Horford deals are strikingly similar, and Hield's game would be an instant improvement for the Sixers' offensive spacing: he's a two-guard who shoots a career 41.1 percent from deep, and can create his own shot. Plus, he's substantially younger than Horford.

Will the move happen? If the Kings deem their relationship with Hield unfixable, it's possible. Horford hasn't fit well in Philly, but he's still a savvy veteran with a good track record. And Hield would certainly check the boxes for the Sixers' front office.

Hield shot 39% from deep this year on 9.5 (!) three-point attempts per game, is a career 41% three-point shooter over 315 games, and would be a perfect match for the Sixers. 

We'll see.

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2020 NBA playoffs: Schedule for Sixers-Celtics series is set

2020 NBA playoffs: Schedule for Sixers-Celtics series is set

The Sixers’ second playoff series against the Celtics in three seasons is on the horizon, and we now know exactly when it will begin.

The series will kick off Monday at 6:30 p.m., the Sixers’ first postseason game since Kawhi Leonard’s indelible buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the second round on May 12, 2019. 

Below is the full schedule, with all times Eastern Standard Time:

Game 1: Monday, Aug. 17 — Sixers at Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 19 — Sixers at Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 3: Friday, Aug. 21 — Sixers vs. Celtics, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 23 — Sixers vs. Celtics, 1 p.m. 
Game 5: Tuesday, Aug. 25 — Sixers at Celtics, TBD
Game 6: Thursday, Aug. 27 — Sixers vs. Celtics, TBD 
Game 7: Saturday, Aug. 29 — Sixers at Celtics, TBD

Of course, Games 5 through 7 will only be played if necessary, and there’s no such thing as a true home game when the teams are playing at Disney World during a pandemic. The Sixers do have PA announcer Matt Cord virtually handling starting lineup introductions, plus the Wendy’s Frosty Freeze-out and other trademarks of a usual home game. They were 29-2 at Wells Fargo Center this season before the NBA’s hiatus, the best home mark in the league. 

Led by All-Stars Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, Boston should be favored in this series against a Sixers team missing Ben Simmons. The 24-year-old had surgery Monday to remove a loose body from his left knee, leaving the Sixers reliant on Joel Embiid and complementary pieces like Josh Richardson and Al Horford. Tobias Harris, who has averaged 22.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in the Sixers’ seeding games, will also likely need to elevate his game. 

Embiid is listed as questionable because of left ankle soreness for the team’s final seeding game Friday night at 9 p.m. against the Rockets. He had a short night Wednesday vs. the Raptors after being hit on the right wrist and had negative X-rays on his hand.

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