Brett Brown

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Sixers, Jennings, Rozier

After passing along a few items from out of the Atlantic division on Sunday afternoon, we’ve got a few more notes to round up this morning, so let’s dive in…

  • Nerlens Noel remains a trade candidate for the Sixers, but if the 22-year-old remains in Philadelphia for the final year of his rookie contract, head coach Brett Brown wants to see him emulate another big man who just parlayed a breakout contract year into a big new contract: Bismack Biyombo. As Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer details, Brown compared Noel to Biyombo and Hall-of-Fame center Dikembe Mutombo, praising his physical gifts. “Do your job and we will help you,” Brown said. “The league will reward that. The 76ers will reward that. He will be rewarded for playing like that.”
  • Given the massive rebuild undertaken by the franchise, Brett Brown‘s record during his first three seasons with the Sixers can’t really be held against him. However, with excitement and expectations increasing in Philadelphia, the job Brown does with this year’s roster may go a long way to determining whether he’ll be the team’s long-term coach, suggests Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News.
  • Having signed a one-year deal with the Knicks this summer, Brandon Jennings recently said on The Stashed’s 33rd & 7th podcast with Anthony Donahue that he’s “more hungry than ever” to prove what he can do on the court (link via Ian Begley of
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of identifies Terry Rozier as a Celtics player worth keeping an eye on in camp. Rozier is one of 16 players with guaranteed contracts heading into camp, and Blakely thinks Rozier may be a potential trade candidate if the C’s don’t plan on having him get regular playing time this season.

Atlantic Notes: Mutombo, Brown, Simmons

The Raptors have added Patrick Mutombo to their coaching staff, Blake Murphy of the Raptors Republic reports (Twitter link). Mutombo previously was an assistant coach with the Nuggets and more recently, an assistant coach with the Austin Spurs of the D-League.

Here’s more

  • Brett Brown remains focused on developing a culture within the Sixers organization, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “Those things ultimately matter,” said Brown. “Maybe not so much to the outside world, but if you really want to grow a program [it does]. I’ve seen what championships look like. I’ve seen five times what it takes to play in June. . . . So the growth sometimes might not be as quantifiable to the outside world. But I know it.”
  • While the Sixers will closely monitor Joel Embiid‘s minutes, rookie Ben Simmons will have no minutes restrictions and is expected to play over 30 minutes a game, Pompey passes along in the same piece. Simmons is also expected to take reigns of the offense early on.
  • Brown believes Dario Saric‘s experience playing in Europe will help him transition to the NBA, Jessica Camerato of Comcast Sportsnet writes. “He sort of contradicts his birth certificate in that his basketball experiences are rich,” Brown said.. “He’s not a kid. He’s no kid. He’s 22, but he’s no kid.” Saric was drafted by the Magic with the 12th pick in the 2014 draft before being traded to the Sixers.




Atlantic Notes: Noah, Porzingis, Rose, Embiid

Joakim Noah‘s intensity has already made an impression on at least one of his new teammates, relays Ian Begley of At a youth camp today in Westchester, N.Y., Kristaps Porzingis told the story of his first meeting with Noah and the Knicks‘ new center’s dedication to the upcoming season. “That’s the type of guy that we want on our team,” Porzingis said. “He brings that good energy. He brings that spirit, you know? So from the first opportunity that we got to talk, I fell in love with [his intensity].” The addition of Noah should also limit the amount of time that Porzingis spends playing center, which many people believe will eventually become his primary position. Noah, who signed a four-year, $72MM deal with the Knicks in July, is hoping for a bounce-back year after being limited to 29 games last season because of an injured shoulder.

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Porzingis also addressed Derrick Rose‘s “super team” comment from earlier this summer, writes Barbara Barker of Newsday. Porzingis says the statement was just a sign of confidence and he agrees with Rose that the Knicks have the talent to be very good. He added that Rose has looked impressive in pickup games. “He’s still got it. He’s still Derrick Rose,” Porzingis said. “I’m excited to play with him. He draws so much attention. When he’s driving, he’s so dangerous. I’m going to be wide open, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
  • The Sixers‘ crowded frontcourt means players are going to have to earn their minutes more than ever, and the way to do that is to adapt to coach Brett Brown’s new up-tempo approach, according to Jessica Camerato of Brown is calling on players to get in “career-best shape” before reporting to training camp and said their roles will be determined by their ability to do that.
  • Joel Embiid may be cleared to play, but the Sixers will rely heavily on their medical staff to determine when and how often he takes the court, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid is expected to start the season with restricted minutes and probably won’t play on back-to-back nights.

Brett Brown On New-Look Sixers

Sixers head coach Brett Brown has endured three life-sapping seasons since leaving his assistant post in San Antonio to steward over Philadelphia’s rebuilding efforts. Brown’s teams have lost 63, 64, and 72 games respectively the last three campaigns as the team purposely bottomed-out under former GM Sam Hinkie in an effort to retool via the NBA draft lottery. While no one realistically expects the Sixers to suddenly make the playoffs this season, the franchise has been active in the free agent market for the first time during Brown’s tenure and the team should make strides toward respectability in 2016/17.

Brown spoke with members of the media on Thursday regarding a number of subjects, including his revitalized enthusiasm resulting from the team’s positive offseason, Mike Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “Given our experience together, from where we were to where we are now, how can we all not feel a breath of fresh air, a new bounce, a higher level of hope and an excitement that together we haven’t experienced for awhile?” Brown said.

The coach noted that there are numerous reasons for him to be optimistic, including the highly anticipated debut of former lottery pick Joel Embiid, who sat out his first two NBA campaigns following foot surgeries, the addition of No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and the arrival of 2014 draftee Dario Saric from overseas, Narducci notes. Brown did acknowledge that Embiid’s health is a wild card, telling reporters, “He will play and everybody understands there will be parameters, restrictions.” The coach noted that what those restrictions will be should be determined during the preseason.

The frontcourt rotation remains a bit of a mystery, with Brown acknowledging that the pairing of Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor last season wasn’t a successful one, Narducci relays. Brown did offer high praise for Noel, telling reporters, “Nerlens has elite gifts. He is athletic, quick off the floor, and as quick to the rim as anybody I have coached, as any big man in the league.” The coach refused to indulge any speculation as to which of the big men, if any, are likely to be dealt this season. “I will coach them until they are not [here],” Brown said.

The Sixers should also benefit greatly from the free agent additions of veterans Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, and Sergio Rodriguez, Brown told the media. The coach is especially excited about Philly upgrading the point guard position, Narducci adds. “If the season started today, you give Jerryd Bayless the ball and go from there,” Brown said. “I feel there will be times you will see Ben Simmons with the ball as the traditional point guard.” Brown also noted that shooting guard Nik Stauskas, who averaged 8.5 points in his first season with the Sixers, worked hard in the weight room this offseason and should benefit from that.

Do you think Brown has a reason to be optimistic at the Sixers’ chances this season? Which addition to the roster are you most excited about? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Brown, Johnson

Sixers coach Brett Brown expects Joel Embiid to be ready to play in the preseason, as he tells Zach Lowe of on his podcast (h/t to Rob Tornoe of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “Physically, mentally, recent medical scans, everything is pointing in the right direction. We’re just very excited,” Brown said. Embiid has yet to play in a game since being drafted with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Brown feels the Sixers are in a good place as a franchise right now, as he discusses on that same podcast. “There’s a real feel good mentality right now in our city. I think everybody’s starting to get excited,” Brown said. “Obviously, this is just one more phase, one more wave on how we build our program. But we have such fantastic young, talented pieces to try to put that puzzle together. Everybody’s excited here in Philadelphia.”
  • Amir Johnson has established himself as a good defender and if he reaches his ceiling on the defensive end, he could end up making an All-NBA defensive team, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet argues. Johnson, who signed a two-year, $24MM deal with the Celtics last summer, will be a free agent after the 2016/17 season.

Atlantic Notes: Lin, Foye, Brown, O’Brien

Jeremy Lin is trying to justify the Nets‘ $36MM investment by becoming a better shooter this offseason, relays Mike Mazzeo of Lin, who accepted a three-year deal to leave Charlotte for Brooklyn, has altered his shooting style and is hoping for better results. Mazzeo notes that Lin’s percentage as a jump-shooter over the past four seasons is just 34.8%. “I’ve changed my form, brought my release lower and made the motion smoother in hopes of making it more consistent, creating a quicker release and using less energy so on nights when I’m tired I can still shoot it well,” Lin said. “I’ve also been working on my floaters and change of pace game because as I get older, I will rely less and less on my athleticism.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Randy Foye stands out as a veteran on a very young Nets team, writes Cory Wright of Foye, who signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Brooklyn last month, has played 683 games in his 10-year NBA career. That’s about 200 more than the combined total of new teammates Anthony Bennett, Bojan Bogdanovic, Justin Hamilton, Joe Harris, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Sean Kilpatrick and Chris McCullough. Foye is aware of his new role as a veteran leader. “When I first came into the league, Kevin Garnett was my vet,” Foye said. “He was on me, but everything he told me, he practiced what he preached. He got on the floor, dove on the floor and a lot of the things that he did he led by example.”
  • Sixers head coach Brett Brown was happy to add a man who once held that position to his staff, according to Brian Seltzer of Jim O’Brien, who was Philadelphia’s coach for one season in 2004/05, rejoined the team after former associate head coach Mike D’Antoni left to become head coach of the Rockets. “His experiences in the NBA are documented,” Brown said of O’Brien. “I just felt like, for me, with his Philadelphia background, his NBA experiences, and the fact that I felt comfortable with him, I felt like he would be a veteran sounding board, and good for my other young assistants.”

Eastern Notes: Udrih, J.R. Smith, Sixers, Butler

Beno Udrih has no assurances of playing time despite re-signing with the Heat, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Udrih gives the club a natural point guard behind starter Goran Dragic, but combo guards Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson will also see action at that position, Jackson continues. Udrih signed a one-year guaranteed deal at the veteran’s minimum of $1.4MM. Udrih had a standing offer from the Heat for more than a month, sources told Jackson, and turned down some other options because of his comfort level with the organization.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Free agent J.R. Smith doesn’t appear to be close to signing a contract, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Cavs’ shooting guard is deferring all questions about his free agency to agent Rich Paul. Smith is expected to rejoin Cleveland and is believed to be seeking a multi-year deal worth approximately $15MM per season, Fedor continues. There’s been little interest from other teams because of Smith’s past antics, Fedor adds.
  • The Sixers will play three nationally televised games, and coach Brett Brown believes that’s a sign of progress, Brian Seltzer of reports. Philadelphia hasn’t had a game broadcast nationally since the 2012/13 season. “It’s really I think a statement to the way the public views our young, exciting team,” Brown said in a podcast on the team’s website.
  • Caron Butler would be interested in signing with the Knicks, tweets Anthony Donahue of SNY. During an appearance on Donahue’s “33rd and 7th” podcast, Butler said he likes the moves that New York made during the offseason. Butler, 36, spent last season with the Kings and appeared in just 17 games.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Ford On Sixers, Lakers, J. Brown, Celtics

The NBA world may still be recovering this morning from an incredible Game 7 in Oakland on Sunday night, but that recovery will have to happen fast — we’re only three days away from the 2016 NBA draft. As we quickly transition into the 2016 offseason, let’s round up a few of the highlights from Chad Ford’s latest mock draft at (Insider link), which features a handful of interesting draft tidbits…

  • The Sixers have had “vigorous internal debates” about the No. 1 pick, with Brandon Ingram and Kris Dunn – who would both be good fits on the roster – receiving consideration. But, as Ford writes, the team keeps coming back to the fact that Ben Simmons is the best prospect in the draft in terms of “sheer talent and upside.” Ford adds that head coach Brett Brown believes he could find a way to use Simmons as a point guard of sorts.
  • Although there has been some talk of the Lakers eyeing Marquese Chriss and Jaylen Brown at No. 2, Ford believes those prospects would only be in play for L.A. if the club acquired another lottery pick. Either Simmons or (more likely) Ingram figures to be the pick for the Lakers.
  • The Celtics have come up empty so far in their trade talks involving the No. 3 selection. That doesn’t mean Boston will definitely keep the pick, but the team doesn’t have a deal it likes for the time being. If they keep the pick, the Celtics may be leaning toward Brown, who had a “terrific” workout in Boston, says Ford.
  • The four players strongly in the mix for the Timberwolves at No. 5 are Brown, Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, and Dragan Bender, according to Ford.
  • While the Kings are “praying” that Buddy Hield falls to No. 8, Ford says Domantas Sabonis could be a dark horse candidate for that spot, since Sacramento is very high on him.
  • We heard last week that Malachi Richardson may have received a promise from the Grizzlies at No. 17, and Ford’s mock draft does send Richardson to Memphis. However, the scribe notes that the Grizzlies are also very fond of Croatian big man Ivica Zubac, who could be in play for that slot.

Sixers Rumors: Okafor, Ingram, Papagiannis, Saric

Sixers center Jahlil Okafor says he has recovered from the knee surgery that ended his season and he hopes to get back on the court soon, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Okafor’s rookie campaign came to an end March 22nd when he underwent a procedure to fix the meniscus in his right knee. On a Duke University podcast Friday, the former Blue Devil said he was hoping doctors would approve him for basketball activity over the weekend. “I’m getting anxious,” Okafor told Duke assistant coach Jon Scheyer. “I got in trouble a week and a half ago for going out there and shooting. The biggest problem is my knee feels really good. So I want to go out there and shoot.” Okafor has been the subject of recent trade rumors, along with fellow Sixers big man Nerlens Noel.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia as draft day draws closer:

  • Team officials hosted Duke’s Brandon Ingram today in advance of his workout for the team Monday, tweets radio analyst Alaa Abdelnaby. Joel Embiid and two assistant coaches joined Ingram and head coach Brett Brown for dinner, tweets Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers. The Sixers are expected to take either Ingram or LSU’s Ben Simmons with the first pick in the June 23rd draft.
  • Sixers representatives attended a workout today by Greek center Georgios Papagiannis, Pompey writes in a separate piece. The 7’2″, 276-pound Papagiannis is projected as a possible late first-round choice. Philadelphia owns Miami’s pick at No. 24 and Oklahoma City’s at No. 26. Foreign players must decide by Monday whether or not to remain in the draft.
  • Economics may persuade Dario Saric to wait another year before coming to Philadelphia, Pompey speculates in another story. The Sixers have owned the rights to the Croatian star since making a draft-day deal with Orlando in 2014. If Saric joins the Sixers this summer, he will be subject to a rookie contract, but if he waits until 2017, he could negotiate a salary up to $6MM annually. “The timing of him coming to the NBA is still in question,” said president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, who met with Saric and his agent this week in Turkey. “I believe there’s a desire on both sides to make it happen sooner rather than later.  But at the same time, the contract scenario, economics, etc. all plays a part in that decision making. We’ll know soon enough whether it’s going to happen for this particular season.”

Atlantic Rumors: Hornacek, Brown, Hinkie, Embiid

Running the triangle may not be a job requirement for Jeff Hornacek if he becomes the next coach of the Knicks, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Hornacek’s teams in Phoenix were at their best when he was using a two point guard approach and playing at a fast pace. During an appearance tonight on Sirius XM Radio, former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy said team president Phil Jackson is willing to be flexible with his favorite offense. “The things I’ve heard is that he’s not going to be required to run the triangle,” Van Gundy said. “Which is smart from the standpoint that he’s never taught it before. So you don’t want to come in trying what you’ve never played in or taught. I’m interested in that. But I think it’s an inspired choice.” Bondy notes that Jackson has been a fan of Hornacek for some time, as he tried to acquire him as a player for the Bulls in 1994.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown told Chris Mannix of The Vertical that he expects to see former GM Sam Hinkie back in the NBA soon. Appearing on The Chris Mannix Show podcast, Brown credited Hinkie with helping to build a bright future in Philadelphia. Brown said Joel Embiid is “doing great” both from an attitude and a physical perspective, and the Sixers are optimistic that he can play next season, although no decision has been made about summer league.
  • GM Bryan Colangelo turned down the Sixers when they first asked him about taking the job, according to Zach Lowe of He didn’t change his mind until six weeks later, when team owners explained the different direction they were hoping to take.
  • If getting the No. 3 pick in the draft gives the Celtics an opportunity to trade for Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, they should jump at the chance, contends Gary Tanguay of CSNNE. Tanguay commented on a rumor that Philadelphia would be willing to give up Okafor in exchange for the pick so it can take Providence point guard Kris Dunn. The writer thinks Okafor would improve dramatically in Boston because the Celtics have a better coach in Brad Stevens and players who would do a better job of getting him the ball in the low post.

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