Quotebook | Offseason Introductory Press Conference
There were a lot of people to hear from Friday, when the 76ers welcomed (or welcomed back) many of the players involved in the flurry of transactions the team made in recent weeks, and the size of the dais fit the occasion.
Both Managing Partner Josh Harris and General Manager Elton Brand were on hand, as Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Josh Richardson, James Ennis III, Kyle O'Quinn, and Raul Neto made a joint press conference appearance at the Training Complex.
Here's a collection of quotes from the event.
Having spent the past three seasons with the Boston Celtics, Al Horford is probably as well-known among 76ers fans as an opponent could be. Looking out at the Center City skyline from his seat on-stage, the 12-year veteran sounded more than eager to experience the other side of the historic rivalry:
“First of all, this view gets me excited - that view right there of the city. I came out here I haven’t seen anything like it before. I’m hype, I'm ready to go. I’m just letting you guys know that right now. I have a lot of respect for Elton. I got to watch him as a younger player being on our team and how professional he was and how he took care of his body. Really respected him seeing how he did it when he was with [Atlanta]. His commitment to wanting to win and doing the right things inspired me back then and I think that he believed in me, he believes in this group and in what we can do. When they came knocking and approached me it felt right. That’s why I’m excited to be here because I know that he wants what’s best for this city for Philadelphia and what we are trying to do."
In eight seasons in the NBA, Tobias Harris has been part of five trades, the most recent of which landed him with the Sixers. With a multi-year deal with the club now in place, the veteran is eager to continue his partnership with the organization:
“It means a whole lot for me. Everybody knows over the course of my career I have been in different situations. But, coming into the free agency meeting here and what was presented, the coach, the organizations, the love of the city and the thirst to get back to where we were and get even further and gain a championship. Hearing in my meeting just the possibilities of getting these guys up that are sitting up here with me was also one of the most important things in the picture. For me, it was just a win-win to come here to be in a situation where I can continue to develop and to be somewhere to win for many years to come. So I am excited for that. I hope to finish my career here hopefully, God-willing.”
James Ennis III emerged as a significant contributor off the bench during the Sixers' 2018-19 playoff run. He's bullish on the team's revamped roster.
“I’m confident, I'm confident in this group. I believe in this group, I believe in Coach Brown and Elton. I know the guys want to win, and it's imperative. We want to win all the time. It’s gonna be tough. It’s the NBA, but I believe it.”
Back in 2015, Josh Richardson was the 40th pick in the NBA Draft. Now, he's established himself as an ascending versatile, hard-nose two-way talent. The Tennessee product believes his rise has to do with a handful of factors:
“Over the last four years in the NBA, I would attribute my growth and my progression just to how I was kinda molded in college. I didn’t come into college like a five-star recruit. I was a two-star out of high school, so you know I had to work for everything at every level. Coming here with these guys is going to be easy, I think, to continue that growth because you see how Tobias, the whole team, this whole roster is full of guys that have progressed a lot over their careers. I think it will be fun to compete, to almost see who is in the gym the most see who can beat who or see how much better we can get.”
As he went about reconfiguring the Sixers' roster, Elton Brand was focused on acquiring top-flight veteran talent. He also prioritized their intangibles:
“Very important, high character guys, know how to play the game that can actually still step on the court and pay a lot of dividends. The actual players, not just locker room guys, but we expect them to do a lot on the court which helps a lot. Then our young players who are developing just to see how hard they work. They see how hard you work, see how professional you are, and see what it takes to win. So that's our goal with having players like that which Brett Brown would say 'adults in the room.'"
Not only does the addition of Kyle O'Quinn offer the Sixers more frontcourt depth, it gives the club another quality veteran in the locker room. He spoke Friday about how he views his role:
“Certainly, my biggest task is gaining the respect of my colleagues, and I think that’s why I am sitting at this table - having somebody say good things about you without you saying it about yourself. I think I have played every role in the NBA over my seven years. I have had the luxury of starting and I have had the luxury of being the 15th guy. The work doesn’t go unnoticed and I am always ready for any opportunity. I think that was the main thing that Coach [Brett] Brown and Elton wanted to get across to me. Whatever opportunity that presents itself I will fulfill those shoes and I speak confidently when I say that.”
During his four-year run with the Utah Jazz, Raul Neto assumed multiple roles. He feels he's benefited from the reps he's gotten in the NBA, and is looking forward to joining the Sixers:
“I started my first season. My second season, I almost didn’t play and I ended up being the backup in the playoffs. Then my third season, I played a little more. Last year I had a couple injuries so I didn’t have a chance to play that much. I think that right now, I just got the confidence, I am more aggressive than I was three or four years ago. I am just ready for whatever my role is going to be on the team and I am happy to be part of it. I think we have a great team, great group of guys great group of players, and I am very happy. I think I can bring spacing, I can shoot the ball from the outside, and I think that's going to be the biggest thing from me for this team."