Sixers owner Josh Harris bought the New Jersey Devils of the NHL this summer, leading to speculation that he would look to move his basketball team to the same Newark, N.J., arena where the Devils play The idea seemed far-fetched before the season, when Sixers GM Sam Hinkie and Harris himself denied any interest in such a move, but Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News hears that the idea is still alive among Sixers executives.
It’s unclear just how serious the talk of taking the Sixers to Newark is, and any relocation would require league approval, which isn’t a given, as we saw this year with the Kings’ aborted plan to move to Seattle. Harris owns the six-year-old Prudential Center, where the Devils play, but the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia is owned by the Comcast-Spectator company, which sold the Sixers to Harris in 2011. The Philadelphia arena is only 17 years old, but there’s precedent for NBA teams moving out of even newer buildings; the Spurs were only in the Alamodome for nine seasons.
Newark is about 85 miles from Philadelphia, but it’s only 17 miles from Manhattan, and a team in Newark would give the New York metropolitan area three NBA clubs. Anaheim has made a play for an NBA team on multiple occasions despite the presence of the Lakers and Clippers in Los Angeles, so the notion of a third team in a single market isn’t a new one.