Marco Belinelli should provide a boost to the Sixers‘ offense when he signs with the team later this week, writes Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Belinelli reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks and was officially waived Friday, allowing him to clear waivers today. He announced his intentions to join the Sixers on Saturday night, throwing in a “TRUST THE PROCESS” tweet for added emphasis.
The 31-year-old has been a deadly 3-point shooter throughout his 11-year career and is hitting at a .372 clip from long distance this season while averaging 11.4 points per game. He was part of a title-winning Spurs team in 2014 and will bring some playoff experience to a relatively young roster. He also has a reputation as a clutch shooter and won’t mind taking a shot with a game on the line.
The addition of Belinelli makes it less likely that rookie Markelle Fultz will return this season, according to Todd. It should also cut into the playing time of Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Fultz’s shooting problems appear to be more mental than physical, suggests Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers‘ top overall pick has missed 49 straight games with a “scapular muscle imbalance” in his right shoulder. However, the Sixers issued a statement on December 9 that the muscle imbalance had healed and Fultz no longer had pain in his shoulder. Another team statement in early January said he was cleared “to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” However, there has been no progress since then and no guarantee that Fultz will be back this season.
- Emmanuel Mudiay posted a double-double and kicked the Knicks into a higher gear in his debut game with the team this afternoon, relates Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mudiay, who hasn’t practiced yet with his new team, put up 14 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Veteran Jarrett Jack kept his starting job, but played just the first four minutes of each half. “When we bring in another point guard and young kid in Emmanuel, we have to look at things,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said about a possible lineup change. “We have a couple more games before the break. Then when we come back we have a few practices before that first game. If we’re going to do something, that will be the time.”
- The Celtics still plan to start taking injured forward Gordon Hayward on road trips beginning next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Hayward continues to make progress from the fractured ankle he suffered on opening night, but he remains unlikely to return to the court before the season ends.