Power forward Malcolm Thomas is one of the candidates the Sixers are considering to replace the injured Ronny Turiaf on the roster, a team source tells Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia acquired Turiaf in Friday’s three-team trade with the Wolves and Rockets, and, as Pompey reported earlier, the Sixers intend to waive the 10th-year big man who’s expected to miss the rest of the season as he recovers from right hip surgery. The Inquirer scribe’s latest dispatch indicates that the Sixers have already released Turiaf, though the team has yet to make such a move official.
Thomas was with the Sixers for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the season after signing shortly before opening night. He was proficient on the boards, averaging 4.6 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game over five appearances, but Philadelphia waived him November 10th, eating a relatively sizable partial guarantee of $474K, to ink Drew Gordon at his position instead. The 26-year-old who went undrafted out of San Diego State in 2011 has appeared in the NBA with the Spurs, Bulls, Warriors and Jazz in addition to the Sixers over the past four seasons.
Philadelphia has made a habit this season of re-signing players who were previously on the roster, as Gordon, Malcolm Lee and Ronald Roberts Jr. have all had multiple stints with the team. The Sixers continue to have undoubtedly the league’s most flexible roster, with only 10 players in possession of fully guaranteed contracts, as our roster counts show, and a team salary of about $42.5MM, far beneath the league’s $63.065MM salary cap.
Carmelo Anthony gave a familiar answer to a familiar question Saturday, insisting that the Knicks‘ losing won’t drive him out of New York, according to Al Iannazzone of Newsday. The Knicks are off to a disastrous 5-24 start, but Anthony says he isn’t second-guessing his decision to re-sign with the team as a free agent last summer and won’t demand to be traded. “I won’t do that,” he said. “As long as I can go out there and play, I always feel like any game that I’m in, we have a chance to win the basketball game. So I would never start thinking like that.”
There’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- The Sixers will continue their strategy of winning by losing, especially if they can keep collecting draft picks, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey defends the team’s two most recent deals, which brought Philadelphia more second-round picks but cost the team Alexey Shved and Brandon Davies. He notes that Shved had been unhappy because of decreased playing time, while Davies was likely to lose minutes to the now-healthy Jerami Grant and the newly signed Furkan Aldemir.
- Rajon Rondo wasn’t the only player the Mavericks coveted from the Celtics in Thursday’s blockbuster trade, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. After watching center Dwight Powell in draft workouts last season, Dallas was determined to get him on the roster. “He can shoot threes, he can rebound, he can defend,” said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. “He’s a stretch four in a lot of respects, a stretch five in a lot of respects, … and so that’s why he’s here. That’s why we wanted him.”
- He might be the only one who considers it “fun,” but Nets coach Lionel Hollins is embracing the challenge of trying to win with an injury-limited lineup, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Brook Lopez is expected to miss his eighth straight game Sunday against the Pistons with a strained lower back, while Deron Williams is out with a right calf strain. “We’re working hard, we’re playing together, we’re laying a foundation,” Hollins said. “We’re just [shooting] ourselves in the foot sometimes with poor decisions. We got to get better at that, more disciplined on defense in our schemes, but I’m happy with our effort.”
The Sixers will release Ronny Turiaf, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Twitter link). Turiaf was acquired by Philadelphia as a part of the three team trade for Corey Brewer earlier today in which the Sixers sent Alexey Shved to Houston. This move will reduce Philadelphia’s roster count to 14 players, leaving one spot open for GM Sam Hinkie to possibly work as a clearinghouse once again for another team looking to get a contact off of its books. After all, there still remain a few second round draft picks out there that Philadelphia hasn’t laid claim to. The Sixers currently hold a total of 14 second-rounders through the 2020 NBA draft.
Turiaf is likely out for the season after undergoing surgery on his right hip on December 16th. The 10th-year big man is on a fully guaranteed contract worth $1.5MM this year, which expires at the end of the season, so Philadelphia will eat the remaining salary owed to Turiaf.
The 31-year-old out of Gonzaga has only appeared in two games this season after playing in just 31 games for Minnesota last season. He started in 10 of those appearances and averaged 4.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per contest. Turiaf’s career numbers are 4.7 PPG and 3.7 RPG. His career slash line is .533/.000/.636.
With Dwyane Wade‘s injury history and the lack of production from the bench, one possibility for the Heat to correct this deficiency is Celtics shooting guard Marcus Thornton, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Miami wanted to sign Thornton this past offseason, but Thornton was unable to come to terms on a buyout arrangement with Boston, Jackson notes. In 20 games for the Celtics this season, Thornton has averaged 8.2 points and is nailing 42.3% of his three-pointers. The 27-year-old is currently suffering from a small tear in his left calf and is expected to miss a few weeks of action.
Here’s more from the East:
- The deal with the Nets that garnered Boston three first round draft picks, but also required the Celtics to take back Gerald Wallace‘s bloated contract is looking better for Boston every day, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. Though Boston would jump at the chance to trade Wallace and the remaining $10.1MM that he is owed for next season, the veteran is providing value as a leader and a spot defender, notes Forsberg.
- With J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert currently out for the Knicks with injuries, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been struggling with his increased minutes, but Hardaway says the pressure to make his case for more playing time in the future isn’t a factor in his struggles, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. “I’m not going to hold my head. I’m not going to get frustrated,” Hardaway said. “I’ve just got to go in the gym and work on it. I’ve got to see the ball going in the basket. That’s what I’m going to do.”
- The play of Sixers‘ 2014 first-rounder Dario Saric overseas has Philadelphia’s coaches and front office excited for the future, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Saric is currently the only player in the Turkish Basketball League who is averaging at least 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, notes Pompey. “I pay attention to him [in] all the games he plays,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I’ll go and either watch a portion or all of it or highlights. We play text tag all the time. [GM] Sam [Hinkie] was just over there last week. The exciting thing is he’s ours. He will be a Philadelphia 76er and we all have to be excited about that.“
Sixers guard Alexey Shved is dissatisfied with his playing time and plans to give strong consideration to signing with a European team when his contract expires after the season, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. European club officials have already made it clear that they’d be willing to make multimillion-dollar offers to the 26-year-old native of Russia if he were to return to Europe, according to Charania. Still, there was healthy NBA interest this summer when the Timberwolves were looking for teams willing to take him on, and the Pacers were among the interested parties before he went to Philadelphia in the three-team Kevin Love trade, Charania writes.
The Sixers would have the right to match offers from any NBA team for Shved this coming summer if they make a qualifying offer worth more than $4.103MM, but they’d be powerless to bring him back to Philadelphia if he inked with a club from overseas. Shved is putting up a career high 9.9 points per game this season for the Sixers, and he’s seeing 16.8 minutes per contest. That’s significantly more burn than the 10.5 MPG he received last year in Minnesota but less playing time than in his rookie season, when he averaged 23.9 MPG and started 16 games.
Agent Obrad Fimic, who represents Shved, is with the Warsaw, Poland-based Alti Sport agency, so Shved has maintained European ties. He averaged 21.8 MPG and made 30 starts in 62 appearances for CSKA Moscow in 2011/12, his final season before coming to the NBA.
The Atlantic Division is home to the teams with the NBA’s two highest payrolls — the Knicks and the Nets — as well as the Sixers, who have the lowest. All three of them are under .500, and the Knicks, with 21 losses, have suffered just one fewer defeat than Philadelphia has. Here’s more on a trio of teams with different approaches and similar results:
- Shane Larkin wants to re-sign with the Knicks next summer even though they declined their 2015/16 team option on his rookie scale contract, as Larkin tells Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com. “I love it here. I want to be here,” Larkin said. “Obviously, I want to help bring the Knicks back to what they used to be.” The Knicks haven’t dismissed the possibility, but declining the option hamstrings the team, which can’t pay more than the $1,675,320 value of his option if they were to re-sign him, as Feldman points out, examining the risky play of ceding control over young talent in exchange for cap flexibility.
- The non-guaranteed minimum-salary deal that the Nets gave Darius Morris last week covers two seasons, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The salary for 2015/16 becomes partially guaranteed for $25K if he remains on the roster through July 1st, and there are additional guarantee dates later in the year that further raise that guaranteed amount, as Pincus shows on the Basketball Insiders Nets salary page.
- Furkan Aldemir received a signing bonus of nearly $306K, Pincus reports (Twitter links). His base salary is $2.8MM in the first, third and fourth years of his four-year contract and $2.7MM in year two, Pincus adds. The first two seasons are fully guaranteed, so the cap hits for the signing bonus, which by rule are spread over the guaranteed seasons of the deal, come to $2.96MM for this season and $2.84MM for next, as Pincus also reveals.
- The amount of guaranteed money going to Aldemir signals the gravity of his signing amid an otherwise low-risk strategy for Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, writes John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News. Aldemir’s ability to develop will be a key bellwether for the success of Hinkie’s tenure, Smallwood believes.
Former Sixers power forward Arnett Moultrie is joining the Jiangsu Nangang Dragons, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Spears indicates that Moultrie has already signed a contract with the club, though the terms of the deal are unclear. The Dragons already have Toney Douglas and Chris Singleton on their team, and the Chinese Basketball Association doesn’t permit its clubs to have more than two healthy American players, though Singleton has missed the last two games.
The Sixers sent Moultrie, the 27th overall pick in the 2012 draft, to the Knicks in October’s Travis Outlaw trade, and New York waived Moultrie the same day. The now 24-year-old Moultrie had played both of his NBA seasons with Philadelphia, averaging 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game, but he grew upset when the team was slow to activate him following an injury last season, and the NBA later suspended him for a drug-related violation. The events left doubt during the offseason about his future with the Sixers, so it wasn’t surprising when the trade happened.
Moultrie’s salary of more than $1.136MM for this season was guaranteed under the terms of his rookie scale contract, and the Knicks remain on the hook for it. Still, it’s possible that New York will be able to recoup a small portion of it through set-off rights, depending on how much Moultrie makes on his deal with the Dragons.
While Pacers owner Herb Simon indicated tonight that he wouldn’t object to a deal bringing Lance Stephenson back to Indiana, he said the decision would ultimately be up to president of basketball ops Larry Bird and GM Kevin Pritchard, writes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. Meanwhile, Gregg Doyel of the Star opines that the Pacers would be foolish to bring back Stephenson, who has worn out his welcome with the Hornets only 23 games into the season.
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with the former Pacer. Now let’s look at what else is going on in the Eastern Conference:
- With no control over their 2015 first round draft pick, there’s no argument to be made for the Nets doing anything to their roster that might prevent them from winning, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. The Hawks have the right to swap first round picks with Brooklyn, potentially making a less desirable pick a positive for the Nets. Additionally, Bontemps confirms the Nets are looking at Stephenson, as we’ve already heard, as well as other options that might help to improve the team.
- News that the Nets are willing to move their highest-salaried players might be an indication that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is ready to sell the team, says Ric Bucher in his latest Bucher Buzz segment. It doesn’t seem that Bucher’s information is coming from the Nets organization, but the Bleacher Report scribe says that his sources around the league are suspicious given the recent rumors coming out of Brooklyn.
- Knicks coach Derek Fisher attributed some of his team’s early-season struggles to the fact that nine of his players are in the final year of their respective deals with the team, writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. “You have a number of guys that are thinking about how they’re going to provide for their families and where their career is going and whether they’re going to be here or on another team and all the ramifications of those decisions,” said Fisher, whose been trying to implement the triangle offense in his first year in New York.
- The Sixers will pay Furkan Aldemir $6MM over the first two years of his deal, reports Tom Moore of Calkins Media (via Twitter). Philly officially inked the Turkish big man to a four-year, $12MM deal yesterday but only the first two years of the pact are guaranteed.
There will be chatter aplenty between now and the February 19th trade deadline, but not all of it will truly constitute trade rumors, as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck cautions. However, when multiple voices speak in unison, there’s usually a grain of truth involved, and Beck has plenty of tidbits he’s heard from a variety of sources around the league. We already passed along the news that the Pistons are putting Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings on the block, but that’s not the only item of note. We’ll pass along the rest of the highlights here and encourage you to read Beck’s full piece for more:
- The Kings head coaching job is George Karl‘s if he wants it, as both Beck and Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee hear (Twitter links). Alvin Gentry and Mark Jackson are also “prime candidates,” according to Beck, though it’s not clear if the Kings are targeting either of them. Karl said to Tom Byrne of SiriusXM NBA Radio today that, “If they’re interested in me, I’m interested in them (Twitter link). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first identified Karl as the front-runner for the job, which Tyrone Corbin is expected to assume on an interim basis.
- Executives around the league tell Beck that the Knicks are making all of their players except for Carmelo Anthony available, as Beck writes in his piece. A similar scenario is in place for New Orleans, where the Pelicans are open to trading everyone outside of Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Omer Asik and Ryan Anderson, Beck hears.
- Many executives expect the Suns to trade one of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, according to Beck.
- The Nets would probably only move one or two of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, team sources tell Beck. The Rockets asked Brooklyn about Andrei Kirilenko before the Nets traded him to the Sixers last week, Beck also hears.
- There’s conflicting intel on the Nuggets, whom many executives view as top candidates to become sellers, while one Western Conference exec tells Beck that the Nuggets like their team and aren’t inclined to move anybody. In any case, there’s plenty of interest in Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov, executives have said to Beck.
- Many executives and scouts identified Thaddeus Young, Mo Williams and David Lee among likely trade candidates, Beck writes.
MONDAY, 11:38am: The move is official, the team announced as it confirmed the signing of Furkan Aldemir.
SUNDAY, 4:09pm: The Sixers will waive Ronald Roberts to make room for the newly signed Furkan Aldemir, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). It was a brief stay in the City of Brotherly Love for Roberts, who was signed just two days ago.
Roberts, 23, spent training camp with the team in October after going undrafted out of St. Joseph’s this past June. Philadelphia gave the Adam Pensack client a partial guarantee of $35K when it signed him for camp and retained his D-League rights after waiving him before opening night. It’s unclear if there was any guaranteed salary involved with Roberts’ latest deal.
The 6’8″ power forward put up 17.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in 31.8 minutes per game for the D-League affiliate of the Sixers so far this season. He did not see the floor for the Sixers’ varsity squad, however. With Roberts out and Aldemir in, the 76ers’ roster remains at 15.