Philadelphia 76ers

And-Ones: Cap Room, L. Sanders, R. Smith, RFAs

The Sixers, Nuggets, Nets, Thunder, and Lakers have the most cap room still available, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. In addition to those five clubs, the Timberwolves, Suns, Jazz, Celtics, Pacers, and Bucks also have some wiggle room remaining. While some of those clubs could use that cap space to try to sign a free agent like J.R. Smith or Lance Stephenson, I’d expect many of those teams to stay well below the cap throughout the year. Remaining $10-15MM below the cap would allow a team to accommodate a mid-season salary dump, potentially picking up a draft pick or two in the process.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Larry Sanders, who has been working out and is considering an NBA comeback, may be willing to play for a minumum-salary contract, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). It remains to be seen whether a team will take a flier on the former Bucks big man.
  • Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders identifies a few players who will be under pressure to perform in 2016/17 due to big new free agent contracts or roles that changed as a result of other players’ deperatures.
  • Former Louisville guard Russ Smith, who appeared in 15 games for the Grizzlies last season, has accepted a $1MM contract offer from Galatasaray, according to international basketball reporter David Pick (via Twitter). Mete Budak of Eurohoops pegs the former second-round pick’s salary at $850K, so the Turkish team may have included some bonuses in the deal.
  • Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders explains why he thinks the NBA’s restricted free agency system has problems, and puts forth some suggestions to potentially improve it. Donatas Motiejunas of the Rockets is the only RFA still on the market this summer.

Lowe’s Latest: Magic, Vucevic, Oladipo, Sixers

In Zach Lowe’s latest column for ESPN.com, he examines the Magic‘s offseason moves, attempting to make sense of some of the club’s unusual decisions. After investing huge money into Bismack Biyombo and sending a significant trade package to the Thunder for Serge Ibaka, Orlando has a roster that appears a little heavy on frontcourt talent, and one that lacks offensive playmakers.

As Lowe details, the Magic may attempt to roll out a lineup that features Biyombo at center, Ibaka at power forward, and Aaron Gordon at the three in a Paul George-type role, per new head coach Frank Vogel. That would give the team impressive length, athleticism, and rim protection in the frontcourt, but it remains to be seen whether it would be effective against NBA teams that are increasingly reliant on three-pointers and perimeter talent.

Lowe’s piece also includes a handful of interesting tidbits of information he has gleaned from league sources, so let’s round those up…

  • Despite the logjam up front, the Magic are in no rush to trade Nikola Vucevic, writes Lowe. Given the team’s lack of pure scorers, but Orlando might want to keep Vucevic around to take advantage of his offensive prowess and his ability to pass in the post.
  • Vucevic believes he should be the starting center, but hasn’t been promised anything yet, and acknowledges that the newly-signed Biyombo is making a few million dollars more per year than him. “Do I wish I were a free agent now?” Vucevic said, referring to new contracts signed by Biyombo and others. “Yes. But I can’t do anything about it. I’m happy guys are getting paid, and in the normal world, it’s still a lot of money. I mean, I’ll never spend all that money.”
  • Victor Oladipo, traded by Orlando to the Thunder in the Ibaka deal, is seeking a maximum-salary contract extension for now, sources tell Lowe. That asking price likely played a role in the Magic‘s decision to move him, if the club was unwilling to go that high to lock him up.
  • Before signing Biyombo, the Magic were “sniffing around” the possibility of signing Joakim Noah at around the same price, according to Lowe. The two veteran bigs ultimately received similar deals, and will both count for $17MM against the cap in year one.
  • As an aside in his story on the Magic, Lowe also provides an update on the Sixers, reporting that most of Sam Hinkie‘s old regime – including his “handpicked analytics crew” – is expected to be gone from Philadelphia by the end of August.

Vasilije Micic Inks Overseas Deal

  • Sixers draft-and-stash pick Vasilije Micic has signed a one-year deal with Tofas Bursa to play overseas in Turkey, Carchia also reports (on Twitter). The 22-year-old point guard was the No. 52 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
  • Former NBA player Eric Maynor, who missed the entire 2015/16 campaign with a torn ACL, has signed with the Italian club Varese, international journalist David Pick relays (via Twitter). Maynor last appeared in the NBA during the 2013/14 season when he split time between the Sixers and the Wizards.

Brandon Paul Contract Details

  • Brandon Paul received a two-year, minimum-salary contract from the Sixers that includes a $155K guarantee in year one, per Pincus (Twitter links). Philadelphia holds a team option on year two, which will be non-guaranteed even if the team picks up that option.

Sixers Sign Brandon Paul

JULY 25: The Sixers have issued a press release formally announcing the signing of Paul.

JULY 18: The Sixers and Brandon Paul have reached an agreement on a partially guaranteed deal, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The 6’4″ shooting guard played for Philadelphia’s Summer League team this offseason, where he averaged 10.7 points and 1.7 steals in 19.6 minutes per game.

The 25-year-old didn’t shoot the ball well during four years at the University of Illinois, making slightly less than 32.5% of his shots from behind the arc. However, he played for Liga ACB last season and made improvements in that area, making 35.3% of his attempts.

The Sixers had 19 players on the roster entering the day, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates. Paul will face stiff competition for roster spot and once the season begins, it’s more likely he will be suiting up for the 87ers, Philadelphia’s D-League affiliate.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Lin, Embiid

The Celtics have put major trade talks on hold after today’s flurry of signings, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. So far, the quest to obtain Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin has made little progress, with the Thunder and Clippers wanting more than Boston is willing to surrender. Instead, the Celtics wrapped up a few smaller moves today, agreeing to terms with free agent swingman Gerald Green and center Tyler Zeller, in addition to deals with second-round picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil. The Celtics now have 18 players under contract, three over the roster limit. Bulpett expects Bentil to battle in training camp with R.J. Hunter, James Young and John Holland for the last roster spot, with Hunter as the early favorite. That would mean the end in Boston for Young, a 2014 first-round pick whose $1,825,200 salary might be included in any Celtics trade.

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • A source confirms, “There is no big deal right now” for the Celticstweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.
  • New Nets point guard Jeremy Lin moved around the league so much because he has yet to find the “perfect” situation, relays Steve Serby of The New York Post. Lin recently signed a three-year deal with Brooklyn, which will be the sixth franchise for the six-year veteran. “And because I’ve been in situations I didn’t want to be in,” Lin explained, “I’ve created and negotiated in terms of free agency a lot of shorter deals that give me the flexibility to leave if I’m not happy with the way things are going.” In a wide-ranging interview, Lin expresses excitement about the future of the Nets and the chance to once again play for new head coach Kenny Atkinson, who tutored Lin when he was an assistant with the Knicks.
  • Defeating Justin Bieber in an arm-wrestling match may not prove that the SixersJoel Embiid is ready for the NBA, but that was just part of an active weekend in Los Angeles, writes Rob Tornoe of The Philadelphia Inquirer. More significant was a video of Embiid working out on the court that was posted online this morning by his trainer, Drew Hanlen. Embiid, who sat out his first two NBA seasons with injuries, was cleared for five-on-five play last month.

Inquirer: Colangelo Has Undermined Himself

  • Bryan Colangelo’s overt attempts to trade either Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor has backfired, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. The Sixers’ GM should have taken a more low-key approach and now has undermined his ability to trade either big man, Sielski continues. Both young players know that Colangelo is shopping them, and while it makes sense to now keep them into the regular season to improve their trade value, that might lead to discord in the locker room, Sielski adds.

Manu Ginobili Was Intrigued By Brett Brown, Sixers

As Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported last week, the Sixers aggressively pursued Manu Ginobili in free agency earlier this month, making him a contract offer that would have guaranteed him $16MM+ in year one, forcing the Spurs to significantly increase their own offer. As Ginobili tells Michael Lee of The Vertical, he didn’t simply talk to the 76ers as a negotiating ploy, since the presence of head coach Brett Brown intrigued him.

“It was not my main option. I never wanted to leave San Antonio,” Ginobili said. “But I had to listen to all the options that are there. … The fact that (the Sixers) had a great coach and a person I appreciate so much as Brett Brown, made it more appealing in the case the Spurs didn’t happen. But the Spurs happened and they always had the priority.”

  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer explains why it wouldn’t make a ton of sense for the Sixers to trade Jahlil Okafor to the Celtics, writing that Boston has concerns about possible character issues. As Pompey outlines, the C’s typically minimize risk by avoiding investing heavily in players with off-court question marks — as such, the 76ers would have a hard time extracting fair value in a trade.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported last week, the Sixers aggressively pursued Manu Ginobili in free agency earlier this month, making him a contract offer that would have guaranteed him $16MM+ in year one, forcing the Spurs to significantly increase their own offer. As Ginobili tells Michael Lee of The Vertical, he didn’t simply talk to the 76ers as a negotiating ploy, since the presence of head coach Brett Brown intrigued him.

As we ponder the possibility of what it looked like to see Ginobili wearing a 76ers uniform next season, here are a few more notes out of the Atlantic:

Sixers, Cat Barber Agree To Deal

The Sixers have agreed to terms with another undrafted rookie free agent, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the team is signing former North Carolina State guard Cat Barber to a partially-guaranteed deal.

Barber left N.C. State after his junior year, and was viewed as the 55th-best prospect in this year’s draft class by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com. Per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, Barber’s agent told him he had a chance to be a first-round pick in June. However, the 21-year-old point guard went undrafted. Nearly a month later, he has secured an opportunity to attend a club’s training camp to compete for a roster spot.

In his final year at N.C. State, Barber averaged 23.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 4.5 APG, with a shooting line of .453/.361/.865. After not being selected last month, he caught on with the Pelicans for Summer League play, but only played 11.8 minutes per contest in four games for New Orleans.

Terms of Barber’s contract with the Sixers aren’t known, but Philadelphia has plenty of cap space, meaning the team could sign him to a three- or four-year pact rather than locking him up for just for two years.

Canaan Part Of New-Look Pacers

Ty Lawson feels “overlooked” in free agency and tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated the team that signs him is going to get a significant bargain. Lawson says he never really felt comfortable with the Rockets or Pacers last season after being traded away from Denver during the summer. Lawson quickly lost his starting spot in Houston and averaged 5.8 points and 3.4 assists over 53 games. The Pacers picked him up after the Rockets waived him, and he saw just 18.1 minutes per night in 13 games with Indiana. Lawson, whose reputation has suffered after four DUI arrests and a stint in rehab, says he managed to stay clean last season and is ready to prove that he is still an elite player. “It would be big to be back to my old self again,” he said. “Also, it’s not for just me, it’s for my parents. They have had a hard time seeing what I’ve been going through. I know they hear the little comments at NBA games. To make them proud again would mean the world to me.” 

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird has done almost a complete roster rebuild in three seasons, writes Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. Paul George is the only player left from the team that reached the Eastern Conference finals in back-to-back seasons. Bird’s latest move came when he signed ex-Bull Aaron Brooks to serve as a backup to recently acquired point guard Jeff Teague. In addition to the roster turnover, Bird made a coaching chance this summer, firing Frank Vogel and replacing him with Nate McMillan.
  • Doug McDermott thinks Dwyane Wade is just what the Bulls needed to become a contender in the East again, relays Sam Smith of Bulls.com. McDermott, who is coming off a breakthrough second season in the NBA, is part of the select squad that is practicing this week with the U.S. Olympic team. He bristles at the suggestion that Chicago doesn’t have enough outside shooting with Wade expected to start next to Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler“People have been questioning bringing in D. Wade and Rondo, saying they don’t fit [coach Fred Hoiberg‘s] style,” McDermott said. “But we have four or five guys coming off the bench who really do fit Fred’s style and we can gel with those other guys, the superstars. You know Fred will make it work; he’s a brilliant offensive mind and we’re figuring it out defensively as we go along.”

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