76ers undergo fresh start with Delaware G-League team
PHILADELPHIA — The 87ers are getting eighty-sixed.
Philadelphia’s G League affiliate was rebranded Wednesday as the Delaware Blue Coats . The team will move from Newark, Delaware, to Wilmington and is set to play in the new 2,500-seat 76ers Fieldhouse.
The team had been nicknamed the 87ers (also called the Sevens) and played on the University of Delaware campus.
“The 87ers name, to be blunt, it was a little confusing,” 76ers president of business operations Chris Heck said.
The new name was inspired by the 1st Delaware Regiment soldiers who were known for their signature blue combat uniforms and courage during the American Revolution. The Blue Coats’ primary logo depicts Delaware native Caesar Rodney, who signed the Declaration of Independence, on his famed horseback ride of 1776.
Heck said the organization, which just clinched its first playoff berth since 2012, decided it made more sense to have a G League team name that connected better with Delaware and also tied into Philadelphia’s history.
Heck said the Fieldhouse should open in time for the start of the 2018 season, and the Blue Coats are better served in their own home.
“Newark is a college town and their No. 1 priority is the University of Delaware,” Heck said. “We were never going to trump that. But now we have an opportunity to be a marquee team in a bigger city. We had some success, but we feel like our upside is so much greater in Wilmington. And we feel like having our own home as opposed to someone else’s home really makes a difference.”
The 76ers acquired the developmental team in 2013 and have yet to make the playoffs.
Elton Brand, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft and a two-time All-Star, will start his second season as general manager.
“It’s all about the business of basketball right now,” Brand said. “I’ve been to Sioux Falls, I’ve been to Canton, I’ve been to Fort Wayne. I travel on the road a lot to small markets. It’s my full-time focus.”