Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil: ‘Fans Are Right, There Is Uncertainty’

By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — To believe or not to believe? That is the question, when it comes to Sam Hinkie and the direction of the Philadelphia 76ers.

After last Thursday’s NBA trade deadline where the Sixers traded the reigning NBA Rookie Of The Year in Michael Carter-Williams, fans are questioning the plan. Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil understands your concern.

“The reality is, I think the fans are right,” O’Neil told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Wednesday. “I think there is uncertainty and that’s really difficult for fans, and for me, and for Sam.

Listen: Scott O’Neil on the 94WIP Morning Show:

 

“First off, Michael [Carter-Williams] did everything and more that was expected of him when he was here,” O’Neil said, explaining the difficulty of trading Carter-Williams. “And I would say, it’s like, if it’s an opportunity to give us a chance to get better in the future we’re going to take it every single time. I think, at least the most interesting thing to me is, is seeing the process unfold and you’re gonna have to make some really tough decisions over time. And in this business, because it’s such a public business and because there’s so much public scrutiny and pressure, those are the most difficult decisions to make and I’ve been in other organizations where we haven’t made those tough decisions.”

O’Neil stressed patience when it comes to the Sixers and highlighted other NBA teams that have used the same philosophy to grow into contenders.

“There’s some great models out there,” O’Neil explained. “You can look at Oklahoma City and what the Thunder did. The Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, all have had a similar type programs and it starts with kind of drafting really young, exciting, talented players and kind of giving them the playing time to emerge and develop as stars.”

For the fans that want answers now, O’Neil points to what Hinkie turned Jrue Holiday into during the 2013 draft.

“Trading players is really hard, especially when they’re good kids,” O’Neil said. “And Jrue [Holiday] is a great kid, Michael [Carter-Williams] is an amazing kid and really good players, and fans gets attached to good players who are good kids for sure. But if look at what happened to Jrue Holiday, we ended up with Nerlens [Noel], [Dario] Saric, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick from Jrue Holiday.”

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