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July 16, 2015

Julius Erving says Sixers' ownership started with 7-year plan for contention

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Julius Erving was recently on Sirius XM Radio when the subject of his former team and its massive rebuilding project naturally came up. He was asked what most people want to know nowadays, when the Sixers are going to make the playoffs again ("land the plane," in local parlance). Here is what he had to say:

“When they acquired the team in 2012 maybe, I think the talk was about seven years. Seven years. So, I think it’s still on that same timeline.”

Seven years to make the playoffs? Erving:

“No. To be good. To be good. To be formidable. To be a contender. That’s probably 18-19.”

This is a confusing bit of news, because Joshua Harris' investment group did not automatically start rebuilding when it officially acquired the team before the 2011-12 season. There was one run to the second round of the playoffs fueled by injury luck and then a 7-foot disaster the next year fueled by a lack of injury luck before Sam Hinkie took over the reins and completely changed course.

If the Sixers are actual contenders by 2018-19, that would likely be something the fanbase would sign up for, essentially a five-year rebuild under the new regime. One thing is for certain, though: For better or worse, the front office isn't putting a time frame on when it wants the team to be good. They believe that when deadlines are set, mistakes happen. Brett Brown harps on this point all of the time when asked about the moves the front office makes.

Sure, the Sixers could be contenders by 2018-19 like Doc said, but if that is eventually the case, you can bet it will have happened organically.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann