PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the first time in 26 years the Sixers will not host the media during the night of the NBA draft. The Sixers informed media members on Monday that they will not be allowed at PCOM–the Sixers practice facility–during the draft on Thursday night. Sixers fans will have to wait until sometime on Friday to hear from the man behind all the draft picks and possible trades, General Manager Sam Hinkie.
Sixers Chief Executive Officer, Scott O’Neil, called into the 94WIP Morning Show on Tuesday and confirmed the organization’s decision to remain quiet on draft night to an audibly frustrated Angelo Cataldi.
“Instead of keeping the media kind of waiting and sitting, we thought it best to have kind of a formal sit down the next morning,” O’Neil said on 94WIP.
“It’s definitely a different era in terms of preparation, action, deal-making acumen and hopefully picking the right players,” said O’Neil. “And so for us, and for Sam in particular, we want–he wants everyone opportunity to make every move he can make”
O’Neil went on to say he understands the sentiment of the fans and media members that are frustrated with the decision.
“I’m empathetic, I really am, but I can tell you this–the importance is fans track record at least with us, in my eyes he’s one for one draft,” O’Neil explained to an unhappy Cataldi. “So anything that we can use or leverage to give ourselves a competitive advantage–or give him [Hinkie] a competitive advantage. Use every second of every minute, every moment of that night to go find those great players.”
“I think as a fan of this team, I want him doing it,” O’Neil said. “I know it’s different and I know it’s unique. If I was a member of the media I’d be a little agitated for sure, but at the end of the day the players are available up in New York and Sam will have a full show come Friday.”
Cataldi asked O’Neil why he doesn’t speak on draft night himself.
“I would love to do it, but it’s Sam draft and he’s going to speak on the players he takes.”