Former president of Madison Square Garden Sports and New York Knicks executive Scott O'Neil is close to joining the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. O'Neil resigned from his previous post in 2012, and Howard Beck of the New York Times reported at the time that O'Neil created tension with MSG chairman James Dolan by pushing to expand his influence in the daily operations of the Knicks. He was involved in free agent recruiting for the Knicks as the franchise worked to recover from the failed Isiah Thomas era.
Although his new role with the Sixers is unknown, the marketing and business specialist became increasingly involved in the Knicks' personnel decisions, as noted in Beck's report from 2012:
Hired for his business acumen, O'Neil gradually increased his involvement in the Knicks' personnel decisions, often to the annoyance of the basketball operations staff. O'Neil was in the room for the Knicks' presentation to LeBron James in 2010, and he was involved in the trade talks for Carmelo Anthony in 2011. O'Neil also has deep ties to Creative Artists Agency, which represents Anthony, Coach Mike Woodson and two members of the front office.
The Sixers recently reshaped their front office in the wake of the failed Andrew Bynum experiment and hired Sam Hinkie from the Houston Rockets as their new GM, so they are headed in a new direction. If Bynum does not return, the franchise may launch into rebuilding mode. Perhaps O'Neil will be part of a big free agent pitch a few years down the line, when Philadelphia is ready to make another big move.