David Heller is no longer part of the 76ers’ ownership group.
The businessman and former Goldman Sachs executive has sold his interest in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which oversees the team. Sources close to the Sixers front office said Heller was forced out. One source labeled his departure as “kicking” and “screaming.”
The Sixers strongly denied that characterization and said in a statement that Heller will always be a friend of the organization and that it wished him well.
Heller’s extensive role in decisions had overshadowed the front office. That’s because the New York resident had been heavily involved in basketball decisions, sources said. But he wasn’t as visible after Elton Brand was named general manager last year. He did, however, attend some meetings in the winter and playoff games.
Last summer, head coach Brett Brown was named the interim general manager after Bryan Colangelo resigned as president of basketball operations/general manager. But sources said that Heller ran the show in Colangelo’s absence, and that he, more than Brown, was the acting GM at least through the draft process, if not the whole offseason. Sources said Harris listened intently to Heller.
The team denied those claims and said that, while Heller was involved in the draft process, he wasn’t as powerful or as involved as the sources made him out to be.
Heller bought into the Sixers in 2011 as a limited partner to Josh Harris and David Blitzer, the co-managing partners.