Get to know me: Joshua Harris (soon to be 76ers owner)

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This has been the general reaction of Sixers fans to the team being sold (the other NBA owners just need to approve it): “Good, Ed Snider only cared about hockey… wait, who is buying the team?”

The answer is Joshua Harris.

Which leads to the next question, who is Joshua Harris?

Kate Fagan delves into that over at the Philadelphia Inquirer in a post every 76ers fan should read. Philly fans may not know the guy, but they are going to like him.

Harris, head of the investment group whose ownership of the 76ers is pending approval by the NBA board of governors, seems like a man with few weaknesses: He’s a billionaire, a respected businessman, a family man, and an athlete – not necessarily listed in order of importance.

He ran the 2010 New York City Marathon in a time of 3 hours, 53 minutes, 41 seconds. He has five children with his wife, Marjorie. According to Forbes, he’s worth $1.2 billion. He recently attended his 20-year reunion for Harvard Business School and came across as the same guy he was back in the days when M.C. Hammer was cool and when Harris couldn’t afford to buy a small country: kind, down-to-earth, charming, clearly the smartest in a room filled with intelligence.

Harris also attended Penn in the mid-1980s, when the Sixers won the NBA title, and that’s when he became a Sixers fan (and Philly sports fan generally). He now rums a private equity firm — Apollo Global Management — but he is buying the team with a group of investors, not with the firm (as happened with Tom Gores in Detroit).

It’s interesting that he has largely avoided the spotlight for a guy who has amassed more than $1 billion in wealth. The Sixers purchase is really his first move that will generate headlines with his name in them. Read the entire profile, he sounds like an interesting man. And Sixers fans will like what they read.

“I can’t see him using this as a toy or a status symbol or some kind of crown jewel to illustrate his success to people or to himself,” (college friend Scott) Stewart said. “He’s a serious businessman, and he wants to make it a serious success. Is this a toy? No. There’s just no way. . . . The way to be successful in this case in the NBA is to win NBA championships. It’s a very definitive and tangible goal. His track record of success would lead you to believe that that’s his ambition with the team: not only to win one but win multiple.”

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.