Sixers CEO O'Neil urges patience during rebuild

Sixers CEO O'Neil urges patience during rebuild

July 25, 2013, 10:15 pm
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Appearing on "Philly Sports Talk," Sixers CEO Scott O'Neil spoke about a future filled with promise and the team's ongoing head coaching search. (AP)

The Sixers are sick of mediocrity, and new CEO Scott O'Neil wants fans to know it.

While next season's prospects look uncertain at the moment, ownership has made moves with an eye toward the long haul.

Appearing on "Philly Sports Talk" on Thursday, O'Neil discussed the franchise's goals and future plans.

"Sam (Hinkie) has set us up with cap flexibility to make some moves that will set us up for long-term, sustainable greatness," O'Neil said. "We don't want to flex between 38 and 42 [wins]. We can do that. We've done it. We've done it for a decade. We're not happy with that, the fans aren't happy with that and we're going to have to make some changes to make sure we're going in the right direction."

Historically, the NBA has been dominated by large markets. And while Philadelphia is the nation's fourth-largest media market, the Sixers aren't a team that has been able to lure free agents.

With that in mind, it's crucial that the Sixers build through the draft, much the way the Oklahoma City Thunder built their budding young franchise.

"We love getting two lottery picks this year," O'Neil said. "We love the fact that we have two No. 1's (first-round picks), in the deepest draft -- the pundits are saying the deepest draft -- since '04. You know that draft, right? LeBron, Wade, Bosh, 'Melo."

For clarity's sake, the draft that O'Neil's referencing is the 2003 NBA draft, one that has produced eight All-Stars -- four selected in the top five -- to date.

The 2014 draft has the potential to be the best in more than a decade, with prospects like Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Dante Exum and Marcus Smart all able to declare next spring.

Despite a future filled with promise, the organization is working on rehabilitating its image after mortgaging present success and future building blocks on Andrew Bynum.

Responding to a question regarding fans' bitterness and complaints about the Bynum situation, O'Neil focused on what's to come, not what transpired a year ago.

"We certainly hear it. Where our focus is when we hear it is pretty clearly to talk about what the plan is, and we like this plan," he said. 

However, the most pressing issue facing the Sixers is their current need for a head coach. According to a report last week, the team has narrowed its list down to Michael Curry or San Antonio Spurs' assistant Brett Brown. Still, the organization has been tight-lipped regarding the search.

Speaking on the lengthy process, O'Neil preached patience.

"I understand some of the questions, and I guess I would pose it to the fans to really ask themselves would they rather have this soon or right?" he asked. "We're always going to choose right."