76ers CEO O'Neil on SI Now: 'We want to be contending for a long time'

Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil talked on Tuesday's episode of SI Now about the notion that his team is tanking.
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Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil talked on Tuesday's episode of SI Now about the notion that his team is tanking.

"Well, I think it's irresponsible to say, quite frankly," O'Neil said. "I think that, like any business you'd run, you're looking at the best opportunity to win over the long period. And you look at organizations that have been successful over the long haul -- you look at San Antonio and Oklahoma City and Chicago and Dallas. Teams with like a 10-year, nice, little streak -- that's what we want to be. We want to be contending for a long time. The way to do that is through the draft, and so our focus is on youth and player development."

Watch the entire interview with O'Neil here.

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The 76ers finished with the second-lowest win total (19) in the league last season after trading All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday for rookie center Nerlens Noel and a future first-round pick.

At this year's draft, Philadelphia selected center Joel Embiid, who is expected to miss time with a foot injury, and traded rookie point guard Elfrid Payton to the Magic in exchange for European forward Dario Saric, who is expected to spend at least one season overseas before entering the NBA, and a future first-rounder.

Philadelphia is one of several teams reportedly opposing a proposal to reform the draft lottery. Whereas under the current format, the worst team has a 25 percent chance of landing the top pick, a new system could give the "five or six" teams with the worst records an equal opportunity, according to a report from ESPN.com. The proposal is reportedly expected to pass.

The 76ers' payroll of roughly $30.5 million is the lowest in the league by more than $20 million, according to hoopshype.com. Philadelphia, ranked 30th in SI.com's power rankings, opens the season Oct. 29 at the Indiana Pacers.

- Chris Johnson