Are the Philadelphia 76ers Moving To New Jersey?

Philadelphia 76ers' and New Jersey Devils' owner Joshua Harris. - Andy Marlin

Once again, there are rumors of the Philadelphia 76ers possibly moving to Newark, NJ. And while it can't completely be ruled out, there's virtually no chance of it ever happening.

According to a report from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, talk of the Philadelphia 76ers possibly moving to Newark, NJ remains alive and well in the team's front office.

The Sixers have dismissed similar reports in the past, and if a move to New Jersey is truly in the cards, it would contradict several statements made by 76ers' majority owner Joshua Harris during training camp in late September (courtesy of Chris Vito of the Pottstown Mercury):

"I understand if you are born and bred and live in Philadelphia, I can certainly understand that you're an all-Philly fan. And so I acknowledge that," Harris said. "My answer to the fans is, you know, I love the Sixers in Philly. I'm committed to it. I have personal ties in Philly through my mom and in Newark through my dad.

"The fact that I also own a hockey team in Newark doesn't change at all my commitment to the city, the Sixers and basketball."

Sixers' CEO Scott O'Neil had a more pointed reaction when interviewed by the WIP Morning Show in mid-August:

"Ludicrous... Absolutely ludicrous. Just think about it practically. You have the fourth-largest market in the country, that's a basketball city, with history and tradition like the 76ers. You wouldn't even consider it. It's not even an ounce of truth. And it's downright ridiculous or considerate to think about."

When asked on Saturday about the New York Daily News report, the Sixers stated that they stand by their original comments on the matter.

Perception sometimes skews the view of reality for some, and from the moment the New York-based Harris bought the Sixers in the summer of 2011, many people tagged the Wharton graduate as a carpetbagger who would be willing to move the team at a moment's notice.

And, even though it makes perfect sense from a business standpoint, it also doesn't help matters (read: perception) that Scott O'Neil serves as the CEO of both the Sixers and the New Jersey Devils.

As a businessman, it also makes sense to cross promote your related products whenever possible. However, when the Sixers recently sent an email to season ticket holders offering them the chance to buy Devils tickets, it rubbed many Philadelphia fans the wrong way.

In short, leaving the nation's fourth-largest television market to become the third wheel in the New York market doesn't make a lot of sense. For starters, it's highly unlikely that the NBA's Board of Governors would even approve such a move: The NBA wouldn't willingly move out of the Philadelphia market purely due to Harris's whims.

Furthermore, according to John Gonzalez of CSN Philly, the Sixers are in the early stages of a 20-year lease with the Wells Fargo Center. And given the team's plans to construct a state-of-the-art practice facility at the Navy Yard, it's extremely unlikely that Sixers will leave South Philadelphia anytime soon.

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